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June 16, 2018

John Bodenhamer

Southampton, New York

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon. Welcome to Saturday at the 2018 U.S. Open Championship at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club.

Pleased to introduce this afternoon John Bodenhamer, a member of the USGA staff. He is the Senior Managing Director of Championships and Governance for the USGA.

As you are likely aware, there was an incident today on the 13th green including Phil Mickelson during his third round.

John, could I ask you to describe the scene and also explain the ruling that has been made as a result.

JOHN BODENHAMER: Sure, Beth. Phil Mickelson was assessed a two-stroke penalty on the 13th hole for making a stroke at a moving ball. He was assessed a two-stroke penalty under Rule 14-5, which explicitly covers this.

We've recently spoken to Phil, and he understands the ruling and has accepted it and is on with his round, completing his round.

THE MODERATOR: If you have questions.

Q. I think it's Rule 1-2, if a player willfully breaks this rule to give himself a competitive advantage, it should result in disqualification. Do you think this was willful? If so, why no disqualification?
JOHN BODENHAMER: Our Rules Committee mobilized quickly and unanimously decided this situation is specifically and explicitly covered under Rule 14-5.

To go to Rule 1-2 -- Phil didn't purposely deflect or stop the ball, which is talked about in the reference under Rule 14-5, if you look at it. 14-5 explicitly covers a player making a stroke at a moving ball, and so we operated under that rule.

Q. What would a deflect look like?
JOHN BODENHAMER: If you stop the ball from going out of bounds.

Q. But if he's stopping it from rolling down a hill --
JOHN BODENHAMER: He didn't deflect it or stop it. He played a moving ball. He made a stroke at a moving ball, which is, again, it's just explicitly covered under 14-5.

So 1-2, it's not necessary to go to 1-2. It's covered under 14-5.

Q. Can you describe how the conversation went with Phil when you told him?
JOHN BODENHAMER: Sure. We spoke to him a few minutes ago. One of our rules officials informed him of what we had looked at on video, informed him of our decision, informed him that it was a two-stroke penalty, and he said "thank you" and moved ahead with his round.

Q. So just to be clear, had Phil used the putter simply to stop the ball, then 1-2 would have been in play?
JOHN BODENHAMER: I cannot comment on a hypothetical. I can only comment on what he did. We'd have to see exactly those circumstances.

Q. If a player uses a club to stop the ball, would that --
JOHN BODENHAMER: That would be a different situation. Again, I'd have to see it. It could cause us to go to 1-2, yes.

Q. Was his motivation relevant to the penalty, or is it -- if he was trying to help his score?
JOHN BODENHAMER: No. He played a golf ball that was moving. He made a stroke at a ball that was moving. We have not -- no, it wouldn't.

Q. Did it enter into your calculation at all that he appeared to kind of run after the ball and make some running steps at it?
JOHN BODENHAMER: No. The fact that we dealt with was that he made a stroke at a moving ball.

Q. John, is there any other penalty that can be assessed to a player for misconduct if he did something, just to make a point? Is that something that you could penalize him for?
JOHN BODENHAMER: That can happen. That's not what we operated under here. We are operating strictly under 14-5. It's pretty clear he played a moving ball. It's simply we're operating on what we saw.

Q. If he used the rule to an advantage to make fewer strokes, is that something that has to do with intent or in some way abuses the rules that can be a violation in itself?
JOHN BODENHAMER: No. Again, the rule is clear. He made a stroke at a moving ball, and we just operated under that. Getting into intent there, we operated under what the rule said, him making a stroke in that manner.

Q. Could you describe the event, what led up to this, because I didn't -- many of us probably didn't see it and haven't seen the video at all. What you saw on the video.
JOHN BODENHAMER: I have not watched his entire play of the hole, but I understand he made four strokes to get to the putting green. And then what I did see was he made a first putt, and it went past the hole. And as it was trickling, he made another stroke up close to the hole as it was moving, and then he missed another putt and then holed to take four putts on that putting green.

And then under 14-5, it's the additional two strokes where he made 10, and he has been informed of that.

THE MODERATOR: John, thanks so much for joining us. We appreciate you being here today.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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