He hit his next shot 176 yards, leaving it 35 yards from the hole. Some of the pin positions were impossible to get at, to even leave yourself a 25-foot uphill putt.
With rounds of 77-69-81, Mickelson finished 54 holes at 17 over par and is tied for 64th. He took the two-stroke penalty to avoid watching that ball keep rolling.
She told golf.com that Mickelson said in a Sunday phone conversation with USGA executive director Mike Davis: 'I'm fully willing to withdraw'. And if that's the way people took it, I apologize to them. If you're taking it that way, that's not on me. "I would gladly take the two shots over continuing that display". "Everybody's got to play it". I've had multiple times where I have wanted to do that, I just finally did it.
Mickelson's actions were reminiscent of John Daly hitting a moving ball at Pinehurst No. 2 in the 1999 U.S. Open.
He missed a bogey putt before running after his still-moving ball and hitting it back towards the hole before it could run off the front of the green. From longtime Shinnecock greenskeeper Ron Eleazer, to Southampton Golf Club member Denise Martorana, part of the team marshaling the first hole, to Shinnecock course superintendent Jon Jennings, everyone seems to agree that a Mickelson win would be something to celebrate. But he shrugged off a suggestion that he did damage to his reputation as one of the game's most popular players.
"I don't see how", he said.
'That's where we clarified that, 'Phil, you actually made a stroke at a moving ball, and so we have to apply that rule (14-5).
"No question it was going to go down in the same spot behind the bunker, I wasn't going to have a shot", he said.
Mickelson played the third round with England's Andrew "Beef" Johnston, who had a hard time believing what he was seeing.
"We're not on the edge", two-time major victor Zach Johnson told Sky Sports.
"Sometimes it gets a little goofy, sure", he said, "but it's all within the rules".
"I think there are times when it's strategic and I think knowing the rules is never a bad thing", he said.
Mickelson said he knew the ruling was in his favour when he struck the ball, which could have left him a near impossible pitch shot. "So either way, there's no disrespect meant". I know it's a two-shot penalty hitting a moving ball. "I just kept saying 'What is he doing?" "That's one of the funniest things I've ever seen".
"We were both obviously really struggling", he said. As for the USGA and the US Open, F Scott Fitzgerald might have had them in mind when he closed The Great Gatsby with the line: 'And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.'.