Should Mickelson have been disqualified?

Golf News

In Saturday's Fourball the NCG team discuss the bizarre Phil Mickelson incident and and whether Zach Johnson is right to question Shinnecock Hills' playability

We’ve got together to ask each other the pressing questions following the second round of the 2018 US Open at Shinnecock Hills.

In this edition James Savage, Keel Timmins, Mark Townsend and Alex Perry take to the tee to discuss several topics that will come of little surprise…

James: Zach Johnson didn’t hold back when passing comment on how the USGA set up the course on Saturday. Did he have a point? Personally, I thought Patrick Reed gave a much fairer assessment by admitting there were some dicey pins but it was far from unplayable.

Keel: This is an incredibly sensitive subject but I absolutely love watching the professionals get mentally beaten up by the golf course like this week. It happens once a year. The players need to get over it. There were a couple of stupid pin placements on the back-nine out there today but apart from that, I thought Shinnecock played tough but fair.

Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose and Brooks Koepka – all former US Open champions, and there’s no coincidence to see them at the top of the leaderboard again here. They just know how to play in these conditions better than anybody else.

Mark: This seems to happen every time everyone in the field drifts over par and the course dries out by the weekend. Johnson shot 72, two players shot 66 which suggests that it hasn’t got away from them yet. Playing early and well today is worth its weight in much gold while going off in the last few groups is an horrific place to be.

You wonder why you need any hay-like rough on this course as the greens are frightening the life out of them.

Somebody will win and they’ll deserve everything they get.

Alex: As I type I’ve just watched Justin Rose pull one well left of the green from 115 yards with a wedge in his hand. I don’t want to go all “a wise man once said”, but Jack Nicklaus once said “Guys say a course doesn’t suit their game. It’s not supposed to suit your game. You are supposed to suit your game to the golf course.”

Keel: “If any kids are watching this, they’ll never want to play golf themselves” – This argument always comes up when a golf course is playing really tough and bogeys are more common than birdies. I don’t think I’ve heard as much rubbish – it at least never entered my mind when growing up watching the US Open. What do you think?

Mark: Agreed, I don’t think the game is going to be inundated with new starters if the US Open was held at some bland course in the desert with the winning score at -26. The US Open has its own identity and it’s playing its usual role again this year. Our own Open, if it gets the wrong weather, is almost as brutal. Everyone was supposedly bored rigid by McIlroy’s win at Congressional or Koepka last year so I’m not sure they can win.

Alex: Couldn’t really care less what the score is, as long as it’s interesting. Take The Open at Troon, for example, Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson could have been trading birdies – as was the case – or battling each other to save par. I would still have been mesmerised.

James: The winning score really doesn’t matter to me. You’ve got a handful of the best players in the world all battling it out in the same conditions and it’s absolutely compelling. If we had a load of guys I’d barely heard of at the top of the leaderboard and all the best players had missed the cut, it would be a different story. Shouldn’t the fact of it being hard make kids more curious about the game? I’d like to think it would.

So SHOULD Mickelson have been disqualified? See what the team think on the next page…

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