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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

Former caddie Steve Williams raves about Tiger Woods’ victory at the 2019 Masters



Tiger Woods’ ex-caddie, Steve Williams, has spoken in glowing terms concerning the 43-year-old’s latest victory at the Masters, a win which Williams believes will “re-energize” the sport.

The New Zealander, who was speaking to ESPN’S Bob Harig, admitted that though he doesn’t watch the sport regularly on TV anymore, he made an exception last weekend, and feels how his former boss’ victory at Augusta National will do wonders for the game.

“Now that Tiger has come right back there again, winning a major championship, possibly putting Jack’s (Nicklaus) record in play again … it just re-energizes the game . . .  It’s absolutely awesome.

He’s the only guy who can energize the game like that. All those kids who were watching had to think it was fantastic. And so what he’s done is a remarkable achievement. It’s so positive.”

Though Williams and Woods’ high profile split in 2011 was less than amicable, Williams credited the 15-time major champion’s “amazing achievement” in coming back from the point where he was on the verge of retiring to claim his fifth green jacket down to “pure guts and hard work.”

“Given the fact that two years ago he stated that he was unlikely to play competitive golf again, or was seriously doubting it – he wouldn’t just say that in jest, There would have been a lot of truth to it. For him to actually come back full cycle to win a major championship… it’s just an incredible story.

 It’s an amazing achievement of pure guts and hard work for him and just a true indication of what he is made of. It proves again what an amazing athlete he is. It’s just an amazing achievement.”

Williams also believes that the passing of golfing legend Arnold Palmer in 2016 had a significant impact on Woods, and while writing for the Australian site The Players Voice, the New Zealander stated

“I’m thinking that when Arnold passed away there was a realisation in Tiger that golf had lost a guy who was the most popular player ever. It was about a year after Arnold died that Tiger started his comeback after his back surgery and I think he may have decided that with his second chance he wanted to be remembered the way Arnold was remembered. I do think the passing of Arnie had a change in that respect.”

Steve Williams caddied for Woods between 1999 and 2011 and was on the 43-year-old’s bag for 13 of his 15 major championship victories.

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19th Hole

Couple to name son after Tiger Woods after husband wins a bet with his wife



Tiger Woods’ victory at last week’s Masters had a significant impact in the sporting world, and its meaning will forever be remembered in the household of a Dallas couple who are set to name their child after the 15-time major champion.

Trey Little, a lifelong golf fan, drew up a contract the week of the tournament (as you do), which stated that “If Tiger Woods wins the Masters this week, I (father) get to have the option of naming our son (coming September 2019) Tiger Little.” which his wife, Denise, signed.

Speaking to the NY Post, Little talked about the reaction of his wife and himself when they realized that Woods was about to win the event last Sunday.

“On hole 18, we realized, ‘Wow, he’s really going to pull this thing off. This whole thing started almost as a joke, then it turned into something really real, really quick.”

The name may not be the easiest to live up to, but with the child’s middle name to be Julian, Trey has all the bases covered, joking “He could always go by T.J.”

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19th Hole

This incredible Tiger Woods supercut shows every shot of his 2019 Masters win



A major championship tradition unlike any other in its own right: Michael David Murphy has outdone himself with his final-round supercut.

Instead of merely splicing together footage of the winner’s final 18 holes, the photographer and videographer went four-in-one, including all four of Woods’ 2019 Masters rounds in the same majestic frame.

You are a true artist, sir!


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19th Hole