'Kept going off': Phil Mickelson tees off on unruly US Open fans

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Phil Mickelson walks away after a shot from the bunker during the first round of the US Open.
Phil Mickelson was left frustrated during round one of the US Open, after the noise generated by fans taking pictures and videos distracted him on the back nine. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson cut a decidedly grumpy figure after the opening round of the US Open, and the veteran star had fans square in his sights.

The 51-year-old endured a tough first round at Torrey Pines, lodging a four-over 75 to finish the opening day eight strokes behind leader Russell Henley.

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Phones were at the centre of Mickelson's frustrations, with the inconsiderate behaviour of fans at the course not unnoticed by the six-time major champion.

After becoming the oldest player to win the PGA Championship last month, Mickelson was hoping to get is US Open campaign off to a much stronger start.

With the US Open the only major tournament to thus far elude Mickelson, he implored fans to give him a bit more of a chance by being more considerate with their phones.

“I don’t understand why you just can’t turn that little button on the side into silent,” Mickelson said, after he was noticeably distracted on the 13th hole.

“You have to learn to deal with it. I probably didn’t deal with it internally as well as I could have or as well as I need to.

“It’s part of playing the game out here at this level. Certainly I didn’t do the best job of dealing with it.”

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Starting on the back nine, Mickelson dropped bogeys on three of his first six holes, followed by another two on the sixth and seventh.

Only a birdie at 17 offered him any reprieve.

“It’s the video ding. They just kept going off,” Mickelson said.

“Look, it did it the next three or four shots thereafter, too, so it’s not like that’s the first time. It’s just that you had to ask three times.

“You have to be able to let that go and not let it get to you and be able to kind of compose yourself and regather your thoughts and so forth, but they certainly didn’t do me any favours, either.”

Brooks Koepka makes fine start at US Open

Brooks Koepka has made an impressive start to his bid for a third US Open victory in five years as Phil Mickelson's hopes of completing the career grand slam suffered a significant blow.

Koepka, who won the title in 2017 and 2018 and was second in 2019, carded an opening 69 at Torrey Pines to lie two shots behind early clubhouse leader Russell Henley.

Former Open champion Francesco Molinari was a shot off the lead following a 68, but Mickelson finished four over, a month after becoming the oldest champion in major history with his shock victory in the US PGA Championship.

Starting on the back nine, Koepka birdied the 12th, 17th and 18th to reach the turn in 33 before another birdie on the second took him into the outright lead on four under.

A wild tee shot to the third cost the 31-year-old his first bogey of the day and another shot went on the seventh after a pulled drive which finished at the base of a picnic bench where spectators were eating lunch.

Brooks Koepka turned in an impressive opening round at the US Open. (Photo by Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)
Brooks Koepka turned in an impressive opening round at the US Open. (Photo by Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

Also starting on the back nine after a 90-minute delay due to fog, Mickelson dropped a shot on the 10th when he failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker, his par attempt catching the edge of the hole and spinning out.

The six-time major winner was even more unfortunate on the 13th when, after taking a penalty drop from a bush, his fourth shot to the 613-yard par five bounced once before hitting the pin and rebounding off the green.

Mickelson did well to limit the damage to a single shot by chipping to six feet and holing the putt, but another shot went on the 15th after an errant drive.

A birdie on the 17th stopped the rot and Mickelson also found the green on the par-five 18th in two, but could only three-putt from 60 feet for par.

With AAP

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