In March 2018, Phil Mickelson won the World Golf Championship-Mexico Championship. The win had a lot of connotations, both personal and professional for the American golfer. With that win, Mickelson ended his run of five consecutive winless years on the PGA Tour which extended to 2013, at the Open where he won his fifth (and so far, last) major.
And by winning in Mexico, the (then) 47-year-old Mickelson also became the oldest champion at the World Golf Championship. In the days and months after this win, while Mickelson has struggled with his performances. This included not making the cut in two events: the Players Championship in May and the PGA Championship in August and receiving a two-stroke penalty at the US Open in June when, at the 13th hole, he putted twice on a moving ball.
Mickelson’s action was so controversial that he barely escaped being disqualified at the major. He received widespread criticism for his actions, which he acknowledged were purposeful, but wasn’t apologetic about them.
Speaking to the media thereafter, according to quotes published in the Guardian, Mickelson stated, “It’s my understanding of the rules. I’ve had multiple times where I have wanted to do that, I just finally did it.” Mickelson’s actions were speculated to be a form of protest against the manner in which the course was laid out by the United States Golf Association.
Mickelson, however, denied this and added, “I would gladly take the two shots over continuing that display. I don’t mean any disrespect to anyone and if that’s the way it was taken, I apologise to them. Sometimes in these situations, it is just easier to take the two shots and move on.” Mickelson has won the other three majors: the Masters, the PGA Championship and the Open but is yet to win the US Open which puts him one short of completing the grand slam.