June 21, 2018
By: Tom Meikrantz
Historic Shinnecock Hills in east Long Island, NY hosted it’s 5th U.S. Open Fathers Day weekend and the USGA, the governing body for golf’s 2nd major, took it on the chin for making the course too tricked-up on Saturday. Phil Mickelson, one of the most popular golfers ever, found himself the focal point of the controversy surrounding pin placements the 3rd round with the greens drying out. The problem affected the ones going off in the afternoon mostly. Mickelson was putting on the 13th hole when his ball rolled past the cup and started a long descent off the green. Lefty jogged to catch up to the moving ball and whacked it back uphill toward the hole. Was he seeing red or just trying to cut his losses? He claimed he was making a clear-headed decision and ended up with a two-stroke penalty avoiding disqualification, although he offered to withdraw. There was a lot of gray area concerning Rule1-2 which interprets the difference between making a stroke at a moving ball as opposed to stopping the ball which would be disqualification. Mickelson and several others saw their scores balloon that day. The USGA sheepishly admitted the course setup was unfair.
Former Northwestern HS and Penn State standout Cole Miller didn’t make the cut finishing at 12-over after rounds of 78-74 but had his moments on the long layout. He had good company among the big names that also went home after Friday including 14 major champions, guys like Tiger Woods, Rory McElroy and Jordan Spieth.
Miller had 11 consecutive pars in one stretch of the 2nd round. He now returns to Canada to resume his pro career on the Mackenzie Tour. Miller won 4 straight Lehigh Valley Medal Play titles from 2013-2016 but his amateur career is in the past. Jason Wilson is the defending champ in that event which is played June 22nd and 23rd at Woodstone Country Club.
England’s Tommy Fleetwood almost became the first to shoot 62 in a major Sunday settling for 63. 62 would’ve forced a playoff with Brooks Koepka, who became the 1st back-to-back winner in the U.S. Open since Curtis Strange in 1988-89. Plenty of intrigue, drama and local flavor over four days on the only course to host 3 U.S. Opens in three different centuries