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19th Hole

Phil Mickelson hit with 2-stroke penalty at Greenbrier. See what happened



“I’m not sure what I just did is legal…I’ll ask somebody,” Phil Mickelson said after patting down fescue in front of the teebox at the seventh hole during the final round of A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier.

Unfortunately for Mickelson, his actions were not legal. After conferring with rules official, Mickelson was told he had run afoul of the Rules of Golf for the second time in as many tournaments.

Rule 13-2 states in part,

“A player must not improve or allow to be improved his line of play or a reasonable extension of that line beyond the hole by removing or pressing down sand, loose soil, replaced divots or other cut turf placed in position.”

Flattening fescue in one’s line of play is a violation, to be sure. Mickelson took a two-stroke penalty accordingly.

See the incident below.

But here’s where things get truly bizarre. Mickelson didn’t have to take the penalty. I mean, right? He hadn’t hit the tee shot. All he would have had to do is re-tee his ball in another position, thus taking a different line, right?

Of course, after he hits the ball, the damage is done (Mickelson consulted a rules official after the tee shot, so the official wasn’t able to intercede). But if he was concerned he may have broken a rule, why wouldn’t he have pressed pause on hitting the tee shot and called for an official then? Am I missing something here?

What do you think about this latest bit of Mickelsonian Rules-related drama, GolfWRX members?

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  1. BCC

    Jul 12, 2018 at 10:23 pm

    Q. On the teeing ground, a player broke off a branch of a tree which was interfering with his swing. The player maintained that such action was not a breach of Rule 13-2 because his ball was not yet in play. Was the player correct?

    A. No. The player was in breach of Rule 13-2 for improving the area of his intended swing. Although Rule 13-2 allows a player to eliminate irregularities of surface on the teeing ground, it does not allow him to break a branch interfering with his swing. The penalty would apply even if the player, before playing his next stroke, re-teed elsewhere on the teeing ground – see Decision 13-2/24.

  2. Cebe Jansen

    Jul 9, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    So it’s OK to ground my putter in front of my ball on my putting line before I make the putt?

    • Stuart G.

      Jul 9, 2018 at 1:27 pm

      Yes – with some restrictions – see rule 16-1.

      • Ell

        Jul 9, 2018 at 2:09 pm

        and is it ok to step on the ground behind my ball on the tee?

  3. Sein Kang

    Jul 9, 2018 at 11:38 am

    I think Phil is losing interest in the game…its sad to say but he’s nearing the end. He just doesnt care anymore…

    • Ell

      Jul 9, 2018 at 2:11 pm

      No I think its about time for the USGA and the PGA to edit the rule book and reduce it to 10 pages.

  4. Chuck Barkley

    Jul 9, 2018 at 3:28 am

    Was it Dill Pickleson that said, “I’m such an idiot?” Yeah, I think it applies here.

  5. Man

    Jul 9, 2018 at 1:24 am

    He’s losing his mind and is becoming barmy without Bones at his side

  6. Tom

    Jul 8, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    oh my gawd ! it’s a conspiracy !

  7. geohogan

    Jul 8, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    How long will the USGA allow Phil to thumb his nose at them and normalize disrespect for the Rules of Golf?

    • Ell

      Jul 9, 2018 at 2:16 pm

      How long will it take the USGA to get rid of 85% of their absolutely ridiculous rules?

  8. Mat

    Jul 8, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    I hate the difficulty of the Rules, but this is an easy one. You can’t go make the course easier before you hit a shot. No more basic than that.

    In fact, it’s so blazingly simple, I think Phil did that on purpose to make him look like a good guy.

    • ljp

      Jul 8, 2018 at 7:42 pm

      so blazingly simple that he, his caddy, and the announcers thought it was legal…

      • Fang

        Jul 10, 2018 at 2:08 am

        If you think Phil didn’t know it was a penalty then I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. He did it on purpose in an attempt to retrieve his image.

  9. ogo

    Jul 8, 2018 at 5:53 pm

    The Rules of Golf are sacred… even though not well understood by the top pro players in the world… so where does that leave us struggling rec players?!! 🙁

    • Christopher

      Jul 8, 2018 at 7:06 pm

      If you’re playing for recreation who cares? Your main goal is to have a fun day playing the game you love. If you’re with other players you just ask them what’s acceptable. It’s like any other game, you agree with your buddies what’s what and have fun.

      If you’ve got a pencil and card the rules aren’t that difficult, sure, there are some obscure rules, but if the ball’s in play, you can’t go far wrong.

      • orangeology

        Jul 9, 2018 at 4:11 pm

        good point, but you don’t touch the soccer ball with your hand only because you play soccer ‘recreationally’. rules are the rules in the world of sports, that are concerns of everyone whether professional or weekend-isque. it is a known fact that lots of lines in the golf rule book are outdated, stupid-sounding and too much. why should it be that hard to make it better? i want to believe Phil did it on purpose to ridicule, and i wouldn’t have a prob with his act if that so. and no i am not even a fan of Phil.

    • Johnny Penso

      Jul 8, 2018 at 8:01 pm

      I think this is Phil’s attempt to regain some credibility after his recent putt chasing penalty where he should have gotten disqualified. “See, look at me, I can call penalties on myself”.

      • aupga

        Jul 9, 2018 at 12:40 pm


      • Fang

        Jul 10, 2018 at 2:10 am

        It is obvious, you would think he could wait a month or two before doing it though.

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19th Hole

Peter Kessler lashed out at anyone and everyone on Twitter



With 140K followers on Twitter and a website as well, No Laying Up have become one of the most popular accounts in the golfing world. However, when the group plugged the second season of their show Tourist Sauce” with a new promo, it provoked a strong response from “the voice of golf,” former Golf Channel and PGA Tour host, writer, and producer, Peter Kessler. (Kessler responded to Green Jacket Auctions, who praised NLU’s work).

Kessler, no stranger to speaking his mind, then spent hours feuding with fellow social media users who defended No Laying Up’s promo. As is often the case in the world of social media, the arguments descended into personal insults, on which Kessler did not hold back.

Consider these tweets representative of dozens more in the same vein.

Although Kessler was firmly in attack mode, he had to be on his guard when @ProV1_iron took aim at his Perfect Club infomercials from back in the day. The spots are largely a humorous relic in the golfing world, but Kessler was having none of the “people in glass houses” analogy.

The responses from Kessler went on and on, and many had been expecting the ex-Golf Channel host cool off after yesterday’s exploits. However, the opposite happened, with Kessler getting right back in the saddle this morning and continuing his tirade against defenders of the show, with Kessler claiming NLU’s promo “is like intro to entertainment in 9th grade and school just started. Surely you’ve seen good movies and tv shows. These aren’t them.”

Despite saying that he has “Gotta run,” Kessler remains locked in a battle of personal insults with other social media users.

What do you make of Peter Kessler’s social media outburst, GolfWRX members?

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19th Hole

Which Air Jordan model should Nike release as a golf shoe next?



According to GolfMagic, Nike’s Air Jordan III golf shoe took off from the foul line and soared right out of stock.

Per the site: “Nike launched this new model back in February… but you’ll do very well to get your hands on either them right now as they have sold out on Nike’s website. However, a Nike spokesperson has since commented saying “more is on the way.”

Grammar aside, this is interesting.

Now, it wasn’t long ago that all golf shoes looked like this.

And with all due respect to the Etonic Dri-Lite of yore, and giving wide berth to the traditionalists in the golf footwear space, the transition to sneaker-style golf shoes is cool, isn’t it? I mean, even if you’re monumentally swagger impaired like myself and could never pull the “Js on the fairways” look off, it’s intriguing, no?

With that in mind, and recognizing the demand for the 3s, I thought it’d be interesting to consider what the next Jordan golf shoe ought to be.

Here are my finalists for the next wide release (yes, I know Nike made Ray Allen custom 11s and MJ has had a few customs). Many of these are new colorways of classic (OG) models. I’ve tried for a range of styles and picks from across the Jordan timeline. Images via the excellent catalogue on the Jordan website.

Air Jordan XXXII

Air Jordan VI

Air Jordan VIII

Air Jordan II (low)

Air Jordan XXX

Let me know what you think, GolfWRX Members!

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19th Hole

Looks like Tiger is exploring some innovative solutions to his putting woes…



Tiger Woods was 39th in strokes gained: putting in 2018. Historically an excellent putter, Woods was hot-and-cold with the flatstick, even benching his soulmate Scotty Cameron Newport 2.

It looks like Woods may have an ace in the hole for the upcoming season, however, with respect to his green reading and putt sinking. Check out this video posted to his Instagram from the Tiger Woods Invitational on the Monterey Peninsula earlier this week.

Good thing the USGA is restricting the use of green-reading devices and technologies, because this kid looks close to cracking the eternal mystery of the perfect marriage of line and speed for every putt.

Cool stuff, though, isn’t it? It’s also cool to see Tiger so genuinely excited about his “mentee.”

We all know the story of how, after September 11, Woods re-evaluated his charitable endeavors and began to conceive of the Tiger Woods Learning Center. He’s spoken passionately about the students who have made their way through the various programs in the past, and there’s no doubt he cares deeply about the TGR Foundation’s efforts, but seeing a thin slice of that reality is awesome.

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19th Hole