One week before teeing off at the Open Championship, Phil Mickelson spoke with media in Scotland on Thursday about the headlines he’s made recently, most notably his intentional putt of a moving ball at the U.S. Open and the $10 million made-for-TV match against Tiger Woods reportedly in the works.
After shooting an opening-round, even-par 70 at the Scottish Open in Gullane, the 48-year-old told a mostly British contingent of reporters that he “had a rough month” and that he is sorry for recent mistakes he has made.
“Throughout my career, 25 years, there have been a lot of times where I have had to be accountable for decisions I did not make,” he said. “And the reason why this has actually been easier, it was my own fault. Like this was my own fault. So the articles and the backlash is my own fault.”
Like many of golf’s biggest names, Lefty is using the Scottish Open as a tune-up for the Open Championship, which is also being contested in Scotland at Carnoustie.
The most infamous of what Mickelson called his “cloud” moments came at the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills last month. Already 4 over par in the third round, he rolled a putt wide of the hole on No. 13, chased down the ball and struck it back toward the hole before it stopped moving. He was assessed a two-stroke penalty for the move.
He further raised eyebrows after the round when he said, “It was meant to take advantage of the rules as best as you can,” and, “If somebody’s offended by that, I apologize. But toughen up.”
“Not only was I not great on the course, I was not great after the round, either,” he said Thursday. “So it was just not a great day, and it was my birthday. So I tend to do dumb stuff on my birthday, too.”
He also took a two-stroke penalty Sunday during the final round of A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier.
At the tee of the par-4 seventh, Mickelson teed up his ball, walked to the front of the tee box and stepped twice on a tuft of tall grass, which he told a rules official afterward was potentially in his line as he planned a low-angle shot. After more discussion, he penalized himself.
As for the match with Woods?
“No (update as of now), but hopefully in the next week or two. I think we’re close to having some stuff finalized,” Mickelson said.
—Field Level Media