It was dumb, the worst moment of my career! Phil Mickelson regrets US Open antics after opening 70 leaves him seven adrift at the Scottish Open
- American legend treated the rules of the game with contempt at the US Open
- He stopped a moving ball on the 13th green with his putter at Shinnecock Hills
- Luke List made the early running with seven-under-par 63 at the Scottish Open
Phil Mickelson was in full charm offensive mode at the Scottish Open on Thursday as he talked at length for the first time about the ‘worst moment in a 25-year career’.
The American was referring to his calamitous decision to treat the rules of the game with contempt at the US Open at Shinnecock Hills last month, when he stopped a moving ball on the 13th green with his putter, knocking it back from whence it came.
The veteran lefty resorted to smart-aleckery in the aftermath and again during the final round the next day, when he raised his arms in mock jubilation at holing a 6ft putt on the same hole.
Phil Mickelson was in full charm offensive mode at the Scottish Open on Thursday
It was a contrite Mickelson who appeared on this occasion after a first-round 70 left him a distant seven shots off the lead held by fellow American Luke List, with a sizeable gathering on 64 led by Rickie Fowler — winner of this title the last time it was the tournament was played here in 2015 — and Lee Westwood.
‘It was a big mistake that I wish I could take back but all I can do now is try to act a little better,’ said Mickelson, 48.
‘I know there has been a backlash and it’s my own fault. It’s not the first time I’ve done something dumb. I have these moments where it’s like I’m in a cloud and I’m not really sure what I’m doing.’
Asked to explain his actions afterwards, when he claimed it was something he had thought about doing before, and that people should ‘toughen up’ if they were offended, Mickelson added: ‘Not only was I not great on the course, I was not great after the round either. It was my birthday and I tend to do dumb stuff on my birthday.’
Despite his advancing years, Mickelson shows no signs of slowing down. After completing 72 holes in America on Sunday he took in reconnaissance missions to Paris to play the Ryder Cup course and then to Carnoustie before The Open next week.
Mickelson carded a first-round 70 on Thursday which left him a distant seven shots off the lead
‘Carnoustie is in incredible shape and we’re in for one of the best Opens,’ said the 2013 champion.
‘The Ryder Cup course is phenomenal, too, because it’s the best viewing course I’ve ever seen. The last four holes are going to be spectacular.’ Clearly, there was no end to the Mickelson schmooze on this day.
Elsewhere, the Southgate magic was transferred to golf as Matt of that name opened with a 65, although it wasn’t enough to move him out of the shadow of the England coach. ‘Nice shot, Gareth,’ came the cries from the gallery.