Daniel Berger Refuses to Concede One-Foot Putt to Phil Mickelson

March 24, 2016

Daniel Berger refused to concede a one-foot putt to Phil Mickelson, forcing the five-time major-winner to tap in during their meeting at the WGC-Dell Match Play on Thursday.

The commentators were split on whether this was a mistake (or a slight) on Berger’s part or just fair play. “You don’t want to wake the sleeping bear here, friends,” was the initial reaction. Mickelson, 45, is twice Berger’s age (22); he’s been on the PGA Tour longer than Berger’s been alive. 

Mickelson tapped in for par and he and Berger halved the second hole (you can watch the video below). Mickelson won 1 Up. 

It seems like Berger might be adopting a Jason Day-like approach to match play. Day spoke at a press conference on Tuesday about his insistence on refusing to give away putts. “I’m assuming that I’m going to go out there and hole every single putt,” Day said.

Day’s stingy philosophy can backfire, though, and in a way that Berger would be wise to consider as he battles the fiercely competitive Mickelson. “You’ve just got to kind of watch, because some guys play better when they’re angry,” Day said. “They start to focus a lot better and you’ve got to watch their personality, their character, and how they play.”