Sport Golf

Wednesday 22 May 2019

'I see it as a disqualification' - ILGU boss feels punishment was soft for Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson. Photo: Getty Images
Phil Mickelson. Photo: Getty Images

Brian Keogh

Phil Mickelson can count himself lucky he wasn't playing in an Irish Ladies Golf Union (ILGU) event when he had his 13th-green meltdown at Shinnecock Hills.

While the USGA decided against disqualifying the left-hander for a serious breach of the rules, instead handing him a two-stroke penalty for hitting a moving ball, ILGU CEO Sinead Heraty is convinced he'd have been disqualified for doing the same thing under their watch.

"The issue for us would be the example to juniors, who would copy his behaviour," she said at the launch of 'A History of Women's Golf in Ireland', which was commissioned to coincide with the ILGU's 125th anniversary this year.

"I think it is tragic because a junior could turn around and say, 'Well if Phil Mickelson can do that, I can do that.' I think if you look at it, in my humble opinion, he should have been disqualified.

"There is ambiguity in the rules, and while USGA opted for the two-shot penalty, my reading is that if you deliberately do something - and he admitted afterwards that it was a deliberate act - I see it as a disqualification."

She is thrilled, however, with the 170-page book by Ivan Morris, which chronicles 125 years of women's golf in Ireland, complete with championship records.

"As I see it, women have more respect for the rules, which is reflected in the number of qualified female referees," said the Limerick author, who thanked Dermot Gilleece and John Redmond for allowing him to use their 1993 book, 'Irish Ladies Golf Union: An Illustrated Centenary History' as his guide.

"The majority of women are social golfers that bring life into a club. They are better organised and smarter about running club matters too. Best of all, when they say they will do something, they always do it."

While 'A History of Women's Golf in Ireland' will retail for €29.99, clubs or individuals looking to offer copies as competition prizes can buy five books for €125 until August 1 by emailing

Irish Independent

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