Rick Zamperin: Phil Mickelson gave USGA the middle finger with bogey putt

Phil Mickelson reacts after sinking a putt on the 13th hole during the final round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship Sunday

Mickelson went on to shoot a round of 81 and sits third last of those that made the halfway cut on 17-over par.

Mickelson's day had been a slog until the 13th, with five bogeys following his lone birdie at the fourth hole. In fairness to Mickelson, the best aren't immune to a brain freeze or a meltdown and he'll surely put his act down to something like that.

He trotted after it and when the ball was about 15 feet beyond the hole, and still trickling, he hit it back towards the cup. He missed another putt, Andrew "Beef" Johnston finished his hole, then Mickelson missed another attempt at a putt before finishing 6-over the par-4 hole.

Mickelson got his penalty, though it hardly mattered. "I don't mean it disrespectfully". Say this fleet-footed pro hits his chip and then catches up to his ball as it's racing past the hole and - best-case scenario - taps it in on the fly.

"I didn't feel like going back and forth", he said. It's my understanding of the rules.

I do know that I wouldn't want to be the USGA official who gave Phil the boot.

"It wasn't a thing of saying, 'I've had enough or this and that.' It just happened".

"If somebody's offended by that I apologise", Mickelson said after running after his golf ball on the 13th green at Shinnecock Hills and hitting it while it was still moving.

"No question it was going to go down in the same spot behind the bunker, I wasn't going to have a shot", he said. I don't know if it would have saved me a shot or not. Lefty was 2-under after the hole, where on Saturday he purposely whacked his golf ball back toward the hole as it was rolling off the green for a two-shot penalty. "That's where we clarified that 'Phil, you make a stroke at a moving ball, so we have to apply that rule'".

"I didn't want to continue my (putting) display and I gladly took the two-shot penalty and moved on", he said.

Mickelson, however, said he did not have a momentary lapse and did not do it out of frustration. "It's been incredible", he said.

"People here have been awesome, they made my birthday special", he said.

UPDATE: 12:30 p.m. He was serenaded with "Happy Birthday" at almost every green, and even after four consecutive bogeys the fans were supportive. "It's covered under 14-5".

But after a first double bogey of the week at the par-three second, four bogeys followed on the front nine as Johnson surrendered the lead.

Other players, however, were more measured and accepted the challenge for what it was.

Daly was roundly criticized for what he did, as was Mickelson, although Mickelson had to absorb the wrath of Twitter amid dozens of replays shown on the Fox telecast.

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