It isn’t uncommon to hear loud cheers and groans and, of course, cries of “MASHED POTATO!” as you wander around a golf tournament.
But as I sauntered along by the 10th tee, on my way back to my laptop, I heard a very strange noise from the neighbouring 13th green.
A noise that can best be described as “WTF just happened?”
I got back into the media centre and the atmosphere was electric. The kind of atmosphere normally reserved for Sunday afternoon when two players are going shot-for-shot down the stretch.
The huge screen at the front of the hundreds of desks was showing a replay. Every eye in the room fixated on the screen.
A remarkable sequence on Hole 13, where Phil Mickelson was assessed a two-stroke penalty for hitting a moving ball and ended up making a 10 on the hole. pic.twitter.com/kx6ieYiOGR
— U.S. Open (USGA) (@usopengolf) June 16, 2018
WTF just happened indeed.
It’s amazing watching how people react in these situations – particularly in this age of the internet.
Golf media is almost exclusively split into two camps. The old school, hard-nosed journalists with their tight deadlines and fascination with the spirit of the game…
Had food poisoning for the last 24 hours, emerge from the fog just in time for this Mickelson business. What a complete twat. No wonder a cross-section of serious golf fans are completely fed up with PGA Tour. Entitled brats, totally lacking respect for the game.
— lawrencedonegan (@lawrencedonegan) June 16, 2018
"Oooh, I'm so funny. i'm Phil" You're 48. Grow up
— James Corrigan (@jcorrigangolf) June 16, 2018
That was a deliberate rule breach. Should be disqualified.
— Ewan Murray (@mrewanmurray) June 16, 2018
Has to be a dq – can't be having that from Mickelson
— Iain Carter (@iaincartergolf) June 16, 2018
Then the new media folk – the bloggers, the vloggers, the podders – whose role is to not really offer any takes but to just make light of the situation…
Phil leaving the grounds pic.twitter.com/RySkzZHF55
— No Laying Up (@NoLayingUp) June 16, 2018
2 strokes? Well worth it. pic.twitter.com/neIY58ryDb
— Tron Carter (@TronCarterNLU) June 16, 2018
Phil: “It was meant to take advantage of the rules as best as you can.”
Also that’s what’s going on his tombstone.
— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) June 16, 2018
Phil playing the “it’s my birthday I’m doing what I want” card pretty hard
— Luke Kerr-Dineen (@LukeKerrDineen) June 16, 2018
And you have to admit, it is really hard to not get involved…
"I process thousands of rule violation variables" pic.twitter.com/u8WZ5cuCYp
— James Savage (@JamesSavageNCG) June 16, 2018
This has just gone up in the media centre.
— Alex Perry (@AlexPerryNCG) June 16, 2018
Meanwhile, we await Jimmy Walker’s verdict on the matter…
The art of the great debate may be dying, but sometimes it is more fun to just sit back and watch.
Fighting fires, saving pars
Elsewhere while wandering around Shinnecock Hills on Saturday, I followed Matt Parziale for a few holes.
If you don’t know who Parziale is, he’s the firefighter – as they call them here – from Brockton, near Boston, who won the US Mid-Amateur Championship to earn a place at the top table.
I was walking down the 15th when a ball went crashing into the balcony on one of the several bars that run adjacent to fairways around Shinnecock Hills. It bounced around and came to a stop on the edge…
Parziale had to take a drop – and when his ridiculous approach found the middle of the green, it was easily the biggest roar I’ve heard all week. (It did, of course, help that I was front and centre.)
He two-putted for par and is tied-33 going into Sunday, alongside the likes of Louis Oosthuizen, Marc Leishman, Pat Perez, Alex Noren, Brandt Snedeker and Johnny Vegas.
It’s great being out and about but sometimes you just need to be watching the TV to catch some genuine gold.
‘Attaboy Dustin… pic.twitter.com/kg3zh13bx8
— Mark Townsend (@MarkTownsendNCG) June 16, 2018
Or you could have just run after it and taken the two-shot penalty…
I went to check out the spectator village this morning. I thought I’d get into the US Open shop before it got too busy to pick up a couple of bits for people – though why they want branded merchandise from an event they haven’t attended I’ll never know.
Afterwards I went to try out the “epic putt” challenge. A 30-foot putt which, if you make, you win a US Open branded towel!
Anyway, place your bets now…
— National Club Golfer (@NCGmagazine) June 16, 2018
Ouch. I really wanted that towel.
Who on EARTH needs 32oz of lemonade in one cup? That’s almost 2 pints.
“How was the golf?”
“Dunno. Spent all day queuing for the toilet.” pic.twitter.com/5uyeqDNvrq
— Alex Perry (@AlexPerryNCG) June 16, 2018
Someone went up and bought one right as I was taking this photo.
Traffic update: We didn’t check the traffic because we assumed it would be the same as it has been all week. It took us 40 minutes. I could have watched the second half of France vs. Australia in bed.
Though our early arrival did give us a chance to get around and chat to some people. We got to chatting about the US Open vs. the Open Championship – so we decided to put it into various sections and score both majors in each. See who won the titan tussle here.
Tea update: I have four teabags, but it’s too bloody hot to drink tea.
See you on Sunday. Who can possibly predict what will happen? It’s going to be fun.