AP's Doug Ferguson leads with the oddity of a veteran like Phil Mickelson encountering a situation he'd never seen (a match adjustment penalty), and one started by his switching to a harder ball in hopes of reaching a par-5 in two.
But with this score adjustment for a rules violation element, reader RM makes a fair point: there is no such thing as dormie if you're two down with one to go! Woohoo!
Anyway, from Ferguson's story:
"I was talking with Jay and I just thought, 'Gosh, I'm going to ask. I'm sure it's not an issue,'" Mickelson said. "And it turns out that there was a one-ball rule and it was an issue. As a player, you need to know that. You need to know the rules, and if you have a question, you do it beforehand."
No one knew the ramifications.
The penalty for violating the one-ball rule is called a one-hole adjustment, meaning the one hole is awarded to the other team.
But the rules committee erred when it told Mickelson that he was out of the hole, and Mickelson picked up his ball. Because the one-hole adjustment already had been assessed, Mickelson should have been able to finish the hole. He was in the fairway just over 290 yards from the hole, which he could have reached with a good shot.
But he never got that chance. Day made birdie and won the hole, so the International team went 2 up heading to the eighth hole.
Steve DiMeglio explains the committee's effort to remedy its error.
Although the Match Committee realized that it incorrectly advised Mickelson, under Decision 34-2/6 of the Rules of Golf, the committee is not allowed to have Mickelson go back and play in an attempt to correct the error. According to a statement released by the committee, "Once any player in the match plays a subsequent stroke allowing a correction could potentially undermine the strategy already employed by both sides in the match in completing the hole."
Here is the committee decision released to the media, tweeted by Ferguson:
Sean Martin covers the other key match moments for Mickelson-Johnson v. Day-Scott, which was halved.
The post round interview with Phil and Zach, along with Todd Lewis's thoughts on Golf Central.
All of this added up to some much needed controversy, as Rex Hoggard notes, but it did not create any new tension between the teams.
Maybe Phil Mickelson's post round comments will:
**If you're still confused--and many of us are--Mike Johnson at GolfDigest.com has a nice FAQ summary.