Phil Mickelson was making a statement to U.S. Open organizers and saying, “Don’t make us look stupid” with his controversial mid-roll putt at an “outrageous” Shinnecock Hills course on Saturday, eventual winner Brooks Koepka’s coach, Pete Cowen, told Omnisport on Monday.
Mickelson caused a storm when he ran out of patience at the 13th in his third round, chasing a putt that rolled past the cup and hitting the ball back toward the hole before it had stopped rolling down the slope.
The five-time major champion was assessed a two-shot penalty and signed for an 11-over 81 on his 48th birthday amid calls for him to be disqualified.
Conditions at the Long Island course were described as unplayable, with dubious pin positions on moving day and Cowen — one of Europe’s top coaches who works with Koepka, the back-to-back U.S. Open champion — said Mickelson was making a point to the United States Golf Association.
The Englishman told Omnisport: “He was making a statement that, ‘This is ridiculous and I’m going to show you how ridiculous this is’.
“I think you’ve got to because it was outrageous what they did to the course.
“You might as well have played two different courses and said, ‘We’ll play this easy course in the morning and play this really difficult course in the afternoon.’
“Is that fair? Not really. They should have known that the weather was going to deteriorate, get hot and sticky with the wind blowing quick and they got the greens too quick and put the pins in the wrong place.
“It was human error and Phil Mickelson was saying, ‘Don’t make us look stupid, this is how stupid it is.’
“Ethically [Mickelson’s conduct] was incorrect, it shouldn’t have been done and is not a good example to kids, but I can see why he did it.
“That pin at 13 was a joke. There are legal limits to how much slope you can put a hole on and I would say that was beyond the legal limit.”