Is Mickelson's reputation irreparable after his US Open shenanigans?

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In our final US Open Fourball, the NCG team discuss the main talking points of the week: Phil Mickelson, the USGA, Brooks Koepka and Tommy Fleetwood

Another exhausting and exhilarating US Open is in the books. We’ve got together to ask each other the pressing questions following 72 holes of major championship action at Shinnecock Hills.

In this edition Mark Townsend, Dan Murphy, James Savage and Keel Timmins take to the tee to discuss the big talking points.
Mark:It seems every time we have a USGA event, be it men, women, juniors or seniors, they make the headlines. What mark out of 10 would you award them for their efforts this week?

James: Five. Saturday was too tough and Sunday was possibly a touch too easy. Sorry, easy isn’t the right word. They could have made it a bit tougher on Sunday had they not cocked up on Saturday.

If they could have split the difference somehow I think this could have been one of the best US Opens for many a year. I still think it has generally been brilliant so maybe five is a bit harsh.

USGA Shinnecock

Keel: They made two wrong calls this week, so that’s pretty good for their usual standards.

A few pin positions were awful on Saturday, and they should have disqualified Phil Mickelson for playing hockey on the greens. I’ll go with a 7.

Dan: Four. They have done very little to repair Shinnecock’s battered reputation from 2004. They remain determined to be the centre of attention.

Shinnecock

When WG Grace was once dismissed first ball by an unknown bowler, he replaced the bails, took fresh guard and said: “They came to watch me bat not you bowl.”

The USGA would do well to catch the great man’s drift.

We want to watch the best players in the world play one of the best courses in the world with a major championship at stake. The USGA should remain in the background.

Dan: Have you fundamentally changed your opinion of Phil Mickelson this week?

Mark: Yes, hugely. That will all die down in time but his display on Saturday was pathetic both for what he did and the load of rubbish he then trotted out in his interviews.

In these tour surveys where he generally comes out pretty well when his peers discuss him, I would imagine his actions at Shinnecock will now a) be one of the questions and b) he’ll be written off by his fellow pros.

Phil Mickelson

The fans might still love him, plenty of others will now have a very low opinion of him.

James: Not at all. I don’t think his behaviour was that out of character. He doesn’t really do things by the book.

Admittedly he could have handled the aftermath much better but I don’t think we’d be talking about it if it was Tyler Duncan who deliberately took a two shot penalty in that fashion.

I’m not saying what Mickelson did was right but he didn’t gain anything by his actions. I reckon he would have been a couple of shots better off had he not hit the moving ball.

I actually think Mickelson had a point when he told people to ‘toughen up’. Everyone is far too sensitive when it comes to the rules.

I think if you tried to explain to someone from outside golf what had happened they would struggle to see what the fuss was about.

Mickelson

Keel: He’s by far the most enjoyable player to watch on tour, but what he did on Saturday left a bad taste in the mouth. I was really hoping he’d come to his senses and disqualify himself prior to play on the final day.

Why do we love Tommy Fleetwood and not the likes of Brooks Koepka? And which major will our Tommy win? Fourball continues on the next page…

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