For the second consecutive round in a major, Mickelson had a few choice words for the way the golf course was set up. In the final round of the U.S. Open at Merion, he was caught on camera turning to USGA executive director Mike Davis and questioning why the par-3 third hole was 274 yards into the wind.
He was a little more coy with the R&A on Thursday for some hole locations on greens that even at midday were brown and brutally quick.
“We’ve got (to) let go of our ego sometimes and just set the course up the way the best players can win,” Mickelson said after a solid start of 2-under-par 69.
When a reporter started a question by saying, “You said you have to let go of your ego,” Mickelson interrupted him.
“I wasn’t referring to me,” he said.
MAJOR CHANGE: Carl Pettersson’s golf bag was a little bit lighter. And the burly Swede didn’t stand quite so tall Thursday in the British Open.
All because of his putter.
Pettersson has used a long putter that he anchors to his chest since he was in college at North Carolina State. For the first time in a major – for the first time that it really mattered – he switched to a conventional putter at Muirfield. He shot 3-over-par 74.
“Putted nice,” Pettersson said without even being asked a question.
The USGA and R&A adopted a new rule in May that will ban the anchored stroke starting in 2016.
ON A ROLL: The past five days must feel like a blur to 19-year-old Jordan Spieth. He won the John Deere Classic on Sunday for his first professional win, which qualified him for the British Open. He flew on a charter overnight to Scotland. He saw Muirfield for the first time.
And then he went out Thursday and had one of only 13 rounds in the 60s, shooting 69.
LEFT WAITING: Joost Luiten, of Belgium, and David Lingmerth, of Sweden, were at Muirfield playing and practicing to be ready to play in case anyone had to pull out. They wound up having to go home.
Two players – Louis Oosthuizen and Peter Hanson – did withdraw, but only after their rounds started.