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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

Check out these limited-edition Ryder Cup Adidas Tour360 shoes



Here are GolfWRX, we love our Ryder Cup swag. Gianni brought you news of the U.S. squad’s apparel and some goodies from Puma last week. Today, we have more Ryder Cup-related gear news for fans of golf’s most storied team competition: Adidas is launching a limited edition Tour360 to commemorate the showdown at Le Golf National.

Available Sept. 24, the shoes draw their inspiration from the famed Ryder Cup trophy. The 10-cleated TPU outsole is designed to look like the wood grain finish at the trophy’s base, and the TPU top plate is shiny and gold like the trophy itself.

While the exterior of the shoe is the same whether your support the United States or Europe, the fortunate souls who snag a pair of the limited-edition shoes will be able to choose their preferred sockliner. One features the American flag and the final scores from every Ryder Cup since 1979, the other, the European flag.

“We know how much the Ryder Cup means to fans all over the world,” said Masun Denison, global footwear director, adidas Golf. “It’s the most competitive event in golf, and brings out a level of emotion that you don’t normally see in the sport. Possession of the Ryder Cup trophy is what both of these teams and fans are after, so we looked to it for inspiration.”

The shoes (MSRP $220) will come with a limited-edition shoe bag and will only available online at

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19th Hole

Rope hat fans, rejoice: Titleist’s Tour Rope Flat Bill is here



The rope hat is having something of a moment, isn’t it? As the mesh trucker fades to the periphery and the outer recesses of hipsterdom where it belongs, the good old-fashioned cotton rope snapback is stepping up to fill the void in vintage-inspired headwear.

Titleist is getting into the rope hat game with its Tour Rope Flat Bill, worn perhaps most prominently by Cameron Smith recently, but seen adorning the heads of Adam Scott, Jason Kokrak, and Rafa Cabrera Bello.

Check ’em out.

The Tour Rope Flat Bill is available on Titleist’s website for $30 now in black/white, navy/white, and white/hunter green colorways.


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19th Hole

GolfWRX Members analyze (and roast) Cosmo Kramer’s golf swing



Kramer Hickok’s win last week on the Tour brought to mind the greatest golfing Kramer of them all: Cosmo Kramer, of course.

Jerry Seinfield’s singular “hipster doofus” next-door neighbor flirted with the great game on occasion, if you recall: Beating ball into the Atlantic (which ultimately factors into George’s great “marine biologist” ruse), Stan the Caddie, playing Westchester, and a handful of other angles.

It’s during the “Marine Biologist” episode that we get a look at Cosmo’s action, and it is something to behold. The fluidity of Snead, here, folks.

We asked our GolfWRX members to fire up their V1 and give us their best breakdown of Kramer’s “driver off the beach” swing. Here are some of the best replies.

BewareTheGlowball writes

“On takeaway the hands get a little too close to the body, which would lead to a tendency to move over the top on the downswing. In this case however, Kramer makes a great move to put the club back on path from the top of his swing. Nearing impact his weight shifts backwards, which he owns and holds it like it was a classic swing of old…Better than about 75% of swings on the driving range when I go out.”

D1bound says: “Looks like he had a seizure.”

Getair23 says: “It’s so bad, he can’t even hit the ocean from the beach!”

ThunderBuzzworth says

“Horizontal takeaway equals more space for that flying elbow and massive hip turn. Then notice his transition and how he violently thrusts his upper body backwards into a silky smooth back-snap finishing with ALL his weight on his rear leg. Considering he is on the beach… take notes on the unorthodox ground impact location which happens to be 10 inches behind the ball to dramatically reduce spin.”

PowderedToastMan knows his Seinfeld: “That swing has the power to kill a whale, literally.”

Nony noke does as well: “Almost as good as Larry David’s swing. Preeettty, preeeettty good.”

And Gioguy21: “Kramer’s reverse C finish is simply poetic – if only he had the man hands necessary to release properly.”

And DavePelz4: “He’s not the Master of his Domain…or his swing.”

ZAP may have the most concise and spot-on breakdown.

“Stack and realaaaaaaaaaaalllllllly tilt.”

Thanks for the analysis, GolfWRX Members! And if anyone else would like to chime in on Cosmo’s club swinging motion, please do. Also, if there’s another swing from the big or small screen you’d like to see scrutinized, let us know.

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19th Hole