Mickelson fronts media about Shinnecock controversy

(Gullane, Scotland:) Phil Mickelson had blanked the Scottish Open media since his arrival earlier this week in Scotland.

And then for a split second the waiting media looking to speak to Mickelson after shooting a 72 on day one of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open we thought that the five-time Major winner was about to stick with his ‘no media’ stance.

Phil Mickelson Phil Mickelson (Credit: USGA)

This was because he came from the scorer’s hut declaring: “I am not going to answer any questions on my round today…but I am prepared to talk about what happened at the US Open,” he said.

A number of those waiting to Mickelson, and this includes myself, had waited for an awfully long time to speak to Mickelson after the now infamous incident that took place on the 13th green during the staging of last month’s U.S. Open, which resulted in Mickelson being slapped with a two-stroke penalty.

There were many prepared to let the matter rest given Mickelson’s actions seemed to be that of a ‘frustrated’ golfer but there were many more around the golfing globe condemming Mickelson’s actions given his stature in the game.

Mickelson today answered the questions he probably should have tackled at Shinnecock Hills and with many of those present at Gullane of the view that Mickelson could have saved the ensuing US Open backlash by fronting the media earlier rather than a month later.

“No, not trying to dodge anybody these first few days. I have been a little bit busy. I went over to Paris and played The Ryder Cup course. I was over at Carnoustie the last couple of days. I didn’t get a practice round here. Just didn’t have time,” he said.

“So, it’s not been my best month, okay. I’ve had a rough month. I haven’t been my best. So I’m working at trying to fix that.”‘

The American was asked if he had any regrets about what’s happened the past month,” he said.

“I made a big mistake and you know, I wish I could take it back, but I can’t. Yeah, it wasn’t a great moment and I wish I could take it back, but there’s not much I can do about it now other than just try to be — act a little better.”

“The thing about this is throughout my career, 25 years, there have been a lot of times where I have had to be accountable for decisions I did not make. And the reason why this has actually been easier, it was my own fault. Like this was my own fault.”

“So the articles and the things that — the backlash is my own fault. So it’s much easier to deal with than some of the times where I have not been involved in the decisions and had to deal with that.”

“I mean, if people want to focus on the worst moment in a 25-year career, if that’s moments, and it’s easy to focus on those.”

Mickelson was then asked if he thought the backlash was over the top.

“Well, like I say, it’s much easier for me to deal with it because it was my own fault rather than dealing with somebody else’s decision. You know, you have to be accountable for yourself. I do a lot of dumb stuff, right. I remember, you know, I had that rules deal at Greenbrier last week, right.”

“Well, last year at Greenbrier, I picked up my ball in the middle of the fairway, marked it and cleaned it.”

“I have these like just moments where I, like in a cloud, if you will, I’m not really sure what I’m doing or I’m just kind of going through the motions and not really aware at the moment, and I’ve done that a bunch in my career.”

“I’ve picked up the ball and marked it and cleaned it, probably four or five times after — the first couple days was lift, clean and place and I kept doing it.”

“I keep doing stuff like that. That’s the way my mind works.”

Well said, Phil and full praise for speaking with the media after today’s round. Let’s hope this is the end of the Shinnecock Hills controversy.