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The chief executive of the R&A has openly criticised Phil Mickelson for his “putt-gate” antics during last month’s US Open, describing the incident as “not good for the game”.

Mickelson has been roundly criticised for intentionally hitting a still-moving ball on the 13th hole at Shinnecock Hills during the third round of last year’s championship. 

Initially unrepentant over his deliberate breach of the rules, the five-time major winner has subsequently apologised multiple times for what happened, most recently at last week’s Scottish Open

Addressing the media on the eve of this week’s Open at Carnoustie, R&A chief Martin Slumbers warned Mickelson against a repeat of his behaviour.

Phil Mickelson 12 08 08

“I don’t think it was good for the game and not the right way to have played this wonderful sport,” said Slumbers. “I have talked to Phil since has been here. Not putting words in his mouth but he has essentially admitted that it wasn’t his finest hour and I agree with that.”

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Mickelson, the 2013 Open champion, gets his bid to win a sixth major underway at 8.03am tomorrow in the company of Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Satoshi Kodaira.


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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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