The ball began racing toward the front of the green, threatening to fall down the false front.
There was some question as to whether the USGA could disqualify Mickelson under Rule 1-2, which outlaws playing a moving ball to gain a "signifiant advantage".
Mickelson later said he did not mean the shot to be disrespectful, saying there was "no question" the ball was going to roll off the green, and he chose to take the penalty rather than the alternative.
When it was all said and done, Mickelson was assessed a two-stroke penalty for hitting the ball while still in play, forcing him to walk away with a 10. "In that situation, I was just going back and forth and I'd gladly take the two shots over continuing that display". He missed that putt as well and then tapped in for a 10 with the penalty he had to take, putting him at 10-over for the day and in a position where he's going to have some explaining to do. I've had multiple times where I've wanted to do that. "He's putted bad enough that I think he just snapped at how bad his speed was on that putt".
While Mickelson claimed the decision wasn't made out of anger or malice, he was continuously asked if he felt the act was disrespectful. "It's amusing. I just wanted to get to the next hole and did not see that happening without the two shots".
Phil Mickelson reacts to a shot from the fescue on the fifth hole during the third round of the U.S. Open. He was serenaded with "Happy Birthday" at almost every green, and even after four consecutive bogeys the fans were supportive.
"I don't mean it in any disrespect". Instead of waiting for the inevitable, Lefty ran over to the ball while it was still moving. and hit it back at the hole.
Mickelson, who turned 48 today, was struggling midway through his round with bogeys on 8, 9, 10 and 11 and had ballooned to 10 over.