Bizarre ruling leads to a halve for Phil, Zach
Phil Mickelson and Zach Johnson lose two holes on Mickelson's rules violation
October 09, 2015
By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
- Phil Mickelson violated the one-ball rule in the seventh fairway on Friday. (Chung Sung Jun/Getty Images)
SONGDO IBD, INCHEON CITY, South Korea – Phil Mickelson used a little sarcasm when he described his day at The Presidents Cup as “uneventful.”
Friday’s Four-Balls match may have ended in a halve, but that was after a bizarre ruling that confused many and a hole-out eagle from a fairway bunker.
Mickelson’s match featured four major champions and two players who once ranked No. 1 in the world. It was Mickelson and Zach Johnson against Jason Day and Adam Scott in one of the day’s premiere matches.
Mickelson played a firmer ball on No. 7 in order to get more distance off the tee on the par 5. He was informed he had violated the One-Ball Condition after asking U.S. Captain Jay Haas if such a rule was in place.
After a rules official was asked about the one-ball rule, he incorrectly told Mickelson to pick up his ball. Mickelson actually could have continued playing the seventh in an attempt to win or halve the hole. The U.S., which was all square in the match, lost No. 7 to Day’s birdie.
Highlights, hole outs and penalties
The group waited several minutes on the next tee as the ruling was discussed by the Match Committee. The U.S. was informed that, as a penalty for Mickelson’s violation, another hole was added to the team’s deficit, dropping them to 2 down in the match.
Loss of hole is the penalty for violating the one-ball rule, but there was confusion about why the United States went from all square on the seventh tee to 2 down after losing No. 7.
A statement from the Match Committee read: “The penalty for breach of (the one-ball rule) is a one-hole adjustment to the state of the match. This means that at the conclusion of the seventh hole … the state of the match is adjusted by one hole.”
Mickelson could have continued playing the hole in order to win or halve it. Had he halved Day’s birdie at No. 7, the U.S. would have been just 1 down after the penalty was applied.
Mickelson used the mistake, and the subsequent tie, as an opportunity for a little playful boasting.I feel like we spotted the Internationals' best team two holes and they still couldn't beat us. Just saying.
“I feel like we spotted the Internationals' best team two holes and they still couldn't beat us,” Mickelson said. “Just saying.”
Johnson and Mickelson didn’t need long to cut into the deficit, though. They won No. 9 after Scott missed a 6-foot par putt, and halved the match with Mickelson’s 18-foot birdie putt at the 11th.
That was nothing compared to what happened next. Mickelson drove into a fairway bunker at the 12th hole. He hit a pitching wedge from 142 yards, drawing the ball some 15 yards in the air. It landed on the green, kicked right and went in the hole for an eagle to give the United States a 1-up lead.
Day squared the match with a birdie at the par-5 15th hole. Scott missed opportunities at the next two holes to give his team the lead, failing to make a 20-foot birdie putt at the 16th and 9-foot, downhill birdie putt at the next hole.
Day holed a 7-foot putt at 18 to salvage a halve in the match.
“With everything said and done, we get the halve,” Day said.
It was an eventful one, indeed.