The Phil Slap: Game Changer, Or Rule Changer?


Hypothetical: You’re on a par 3 and your opponent’s tee shot finishes 20 feet past the hole. He has a slick downhill putt for birdie. If he gets too aggressive the ball likely ends up rolling well off the green and down into the flats some 30 yards below the green.

Your opponent gently strokes his putt and it starts rolling to the hole while he starts running to the hole. The putt gathers pace and just as it misses on the left edge he taps it in–while it’s still rolling. Like a tip-in goal in hockey. He makes a double bogey 5.

He has avoided the dreaded high flopper from the flat the might roll back to his feet. He also doesn’t
have to worry about going past the hole and gingerly putting down the aggressive slope again.

I am pretty sure we’re going to start seeing this kind of activity unless the USGA makes a slight rule change.

Thanks Phil!


So what you’re saying is Phil should be commended for highlighting a deficiency in the rules before more unscrupulous golfers start to take advantage of it? He basically took one for the team in order to help the rest of us out.


I’d say he basically pulled a dick move, which will lead to all the other dicks that play golf- and there are millions of them- to pull similar dick moves.
Bamberger said it best- the #1 rule is play the ball as it lies. Phil pissed on that rule and others will likely follow.


The thing is, there are a very narrow set of circumstances where this would be anything like a better solution. In the situation you just described most golfers, especially pros, would fancy their chances getting that ball in from off the green. At least in 2. So it’s essentially giving up a shot. It cost Phil 4 shots and he may have made the putt back, so he potentially gave 3 to the field.

I think it was more the frustration of a 48 year old man knowing another chance had gone, that he doesn’t have many left, and just not caring anymore. It was him giving up for this year. I understand why everyone’s bewildered as it doesn’t sit well in the ‘spirit of the game’ rhetoric, but he’s been playing professional golffor nearly 30 years. I think he’s allowed the odd Grumpy Old Man moment.


It just felt like Phil’s “hold my beer” moment. He was playing horrible, he knew the course was ripe for criticism, he has issues with the USGA, etc. I think he knew he hit a ridiculous putt and just said, “let’s see what these jackasses do now.”

I wanted him to get DQ’d, because I wanted to see how he reacted. Everyone knows how badly he wants a U.S. Open, but I think if he had gotten tossed we might not see him at another national championship. I thought the USGA should have totally just put all of the pressure back on him to see if he would have any contrition at all.


I pray this leads to another task force, of which Phil holds the chairmanship in perpetuity. He then takes control of course setup for the US American Open, wins at Pebble Beach and then becomes the first modern playing captain of the Ryder Cup at Bethpage.

I also dream of a world where the distance on Phil’s honorary tee shot to start the Masters is a legitimate prop bet.