R&A Chief Slumbers Calls Out Mickelson

By his own admission, Phil Mickelson has had a rough past four weeks. At last month’s U.S. Open, Mickelson made huge waves on the 13th hole at Shinnecock Hills during the third round, which resulted in a two-shot penalty and a black eye on his reputation. 

On Wednesday at the Open Championship, R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers condemned Mickelson’s hitting of a moving ball as not “good for the game.”

“I have talked to Phil since he’s been here last week, and he spoke to the media at the Scottish Open last week,” Slumbers said. “Paraphrasing his words, (he) essentially admits that it wasn’t his finest hour, and I agree with that.

“We understand the USGA and the referees’ decisions that were made at Shinnecock, and we completely respect those decisions. In the event of a similar situation this week, clearly, the first thing is you understand the facts because you never get the same situation and there will be lots of reasons. But we have looked very carefully at the rules, and I don’t think it was good for the game and not the right way to have played this wonderful sport, and we would make a decision based on the facts of any incident that happened later in the week.”

Ironically, later in the day and with Slumbers’ comments still ringing in the ears of those around the grounds, BBC reporter and producer Shourjo Sarkar snapped a photo of Mickelson putting on a Carnoustie green with a video board behind him asking, “Think you know the rules?”

The video boards around Carnoustie offer the question prior to posting a rules question for fans to think over and answer amongst themselves. While it’s likely that this picture was taken in a moment of pure coincidence, it was a fun pre-tournament conspiracy theory that someone with a sense of humor and control over the video boards made the photo happen.