A round that began with fans singing "Happy Birthday" to Mickelson as he walked down the first fairway went off the rails in a very odd way. But now he is 48 and his US Open legacy will be highlighted by a premeditated rules infraction at the grandest course in America.
And, much like a 10-year-old, he refused to admit he was wrong. "But toughen up, this was not meant that way".
The Shinnecock Hills course has a reputation for being a brutal test of golf in US Open conditions with slick greens and pins set in tough positions, allied to a baking sun and stiff breeze.
Mickelson is no stranger to controversy and caused significant ructions at the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles when he criticized the captaincy of Tom Watson in the U.S. team's losing press conference.
That's a move you don't see amateurs do in practice rounds, and Phil did it not only in competition, but in the U.S. Open!
When Mickelson exited the scorer's cabin after his round, an assortment of media, family and well-wishers were hanging around to greet him.
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His playing partner surely did.
"It was just a moment of madness but nothing disrespectful", said Johnson.
"I think he was a chump", Hopkins stated bluntly, via Brendan Porath of SB Nation. "It's just one of them things that just happened".
The incident didn't seem to dim Mickelson's enthusiasm.
He was taking advantage of the rules. "I don't mean it disrespectfully".
"I know the rules".
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'At that time, I just didn't feel like going back and forth and hitting the same shot over.
Mickelson got his penalty, though it hardly mattered.
Senior rules official John Bodehamer and his committee chose to implement Rule 14-5, meaning Mickelson actually scored a sextuple-bogey 10 before going on to return an 11-over 81 which left him third from bottom on 17 over par.
Worse yet, there was clearly some premeditation involved.
Mickelson is one of the professional tour's most loved golfers, the US Golf Association (USGA) will now weigh up if his actions warrant disqualification from the tournament. But Tony Finau teed off 33 minutes before Mickelson and managed to shoot a 4-under 66, so it wasn't like it was totally unplayable.
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Because it's a sport that holds stuff like etiquette, decorum and sportsmanship holy, Mickelson did something he shouldn't have and got crucified for it. "I was playing it worse than most and wanted to get to the next hole eventually, which I did". He's never won a U.S. Open, but now he has etched himself a place in tournament lore - for all the wrong reasons. I don't think any people who really have this game of golf to heart looked upon that as a really good thing to do. Mickelson's fifth stroke was a putt that went by the hole and began going down a slope.