Rules official saves Phil Mickelson from penalty at PGA Championship

A rules official may have helped Phil Mickelson make the cut this week at the PGA Championship.

Lara Kuipers's picture
Fri, 19 May 2023
Rules official saves Phil Mickelson from penalty at PGA Championship

LIV Golf's Phil Mickelson may have just had his tournament saved by a rules official at the PGA Championship on Friday. 

Mickelson, 52, shot a 3-over par 73 Thursday at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York. 

The 2005 and 2021 PGA Championship winner was playing in a group alongside PGA Tour players Rickie Fowler and Patrick Cantlay

On Friday, the group was in the earlier wave of tee times, and Mickelson followed up his 73 with a 2-over par 72.

At 5-over par through two rounds, the LIV Golf member currently sits on the projected cutline.  

However, his chances at making the cut would have been slimmer had a PGA Championship official not caught Mickelson moments from breaking a rule. 

While on the par-4 6th at Oak Hill, Mickelson hit his tee shot into a hazard.

He then took a penalty drop, and was about to hit his third shot when a rules official stopped him and said he had taken a bad drop.

However, Mickelson disagreed, and after a discussion, requested a second opinion. 

And when a second rules official arrived, he agreed that it was a bad drop due to a slight rules change for 2023. 

Previously, players could drop their ball within a two-club-length area. This year, however, drops must be directly lined up with where the ball crossed the penalty area. 

Mickelson was able to fix his drop to avoid a penalty. He went on to make a double-bogey six on the hole en route to his 72. 

However, had he not been stopped by the rules official for his improper drop, it would have resulted in an additional penalty.

After his round Friday, Mickelson spoke to reporters about his unique situation:

"I ended up hitting it in the hazard and took line-of-sight and came back. I didn't know that they changed the rule this year, whereby you normally could take the point in line and then you have that two-club-length semicircle, and I guess in January they changed that to where you just only get line-of-sight, so the guy came over and saved me a penalty because I had dropped it in the ruling under last year and didn't realize it had been changed, and he came and saved me a stroke, so I was very appreciative."

This wasn't the only ruling situation that Mickelson was involved in on Friday. He also made headlines after he swapped out his golf ball mid-round

Fellow American Cameron Young was not so lucky Friday, receiving his own two-stroke penalty after failing to replace his ball marker. He's expected to miss the cut at 9-over par. 

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