SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. -- Phil Mickelson caused quite the stir in Saturday's third round of the U.S. Open, putting a ball that was still in motion on the 13th green. Mickelson was penalized 2 shots and posted a 10, but the trouble it caused -- some people called for Mickelson to be disqualified -- far exceeded the score. Andrew "Beef" Johnston was Mickelson's playing partner. It's best to let him tell you what happened from the best seat in the house:
"I seen the ball go past, he ran and he hit it, and he said, 'I'll wait.' Huge laugh and head shake. I looked at him and I was like, 'Is this actually happening?!' But honestly, I looked at him and I said to him, 'Sorry, but I can't help but laugh at that. It's one of the funniest things I ever seen.' I said to him, 'I've never seen anything like it.'
"He said, 'I don't know what score that is [for me]. I don't know what happens now.' And then he started speaking to the rules official. And as I said, it was one strange moment.
"Have you ever felt like Phil probably felt on the 13th? Gotten to that point where you've just had enough of the course or setup? Definitely, yeah. [The U.S. Open] beats you up, man. I think I 4-putted [No.] 15 and I mean the first putt is probably 2 foot away from being a good putt, ya know? And then you hit the next one and it nearly goes off the green. And I said to him, 'It's like someone's standing there slapping you in the face constantly for 18 holes, just slapping you in the face.' That's what it felt like.
"What are you gonna do [but smile]? Except laugh? I said, 'C'mon man, tell me some good stories!' And then he told a couple. Then he was like, 'C'mon, Beef, what've you got for me?' We just tried to chat away and just get on with it because we were both struggling and we just tried to take our minds off it, to be honest. One hundred percent [if you don't laugh, you'll cry]. One hundred percent right. You know when you're coming into the U.S. Open, you know it's going to be like that. The first two days for me were such a grind, especially [Friday's second round]. I just didn't think well enough [on Saturday]. There's such small margins [for error]. I really don't feel like I played much different to the first two days. I just didn't think well enough. You're sometimes better off missing the green, chipping it uphill than having a 10-foot putt straight down[hill]. It's tricky because the wind was switching. The wind switched as we were playing and if you get on the wrong side, it's such hard work from there, man. You know, you've been there.
"I'll tell you, my caddie, he got me with a classic one there on 18. I was over there hacking it out of the rough on the left. I can't see anything, and I went, 'Where is it?' And he went, 'It's just in that bunker up there.' I go, 'Ah, you gotta be kidding me!' He's like, "Aaaah! I'm only messing.' I go, 'C'mon, that's the last thing I need!' So he was in the same spirit. All four of us [along with my caddie, Mickelson and his caddie/brother Tim] were in the same kind of spirit. It's just like, 'Let's just play golf and try not to get emotionally attached to what's happening, man."