Phil Mickelson heckler disturbs U.S. Open peace with bizarre, lengthy rant

phil mickelson heckler

A fan heckled Phil Mickelson by the 9th green at the U.S. Open on Thursday.

Alan Bastable

LOS ANGELES — As Phil Mickelson sized up a lengthy birdie putt on the 9th hole — his last of the day — in the first round of the U.S. Open, a fan disguised in a sombrero and stick-on mustache rose to his feet in a grandstand by the green and let Mickelson have it.

In a cryptic and at times incoherent heckling session that was striking for its duration — roughly 30 seconds — the spectator berated Mickelson for taking LIV Golf money and turning his back on the PGA Tour.

According to fans who were in the area, the first portion of the heckler’s bizarre diatribe made reference to Mickelson taking a “Victoria Secret’s sponsorship” and something about “red lipstick and nine-inch heels.” reviewed a video of the second half of the verbal attack, which the heckler appeared to have scripted on a piece of a paper.

“It’s all you need to work for the rest of your life, Phil,” the heckler shouted. “They’re going to pay you $200 million as well.”

He paused for a moment and then resumed.

“What about all the guys on the PGA Tour, Phil? Every single of them looked up to you for their entire careers. This is what you do to them, Phil? This is what you do to them?”

At this point, a tournament official slid in behind the heckler and escorted him out of the grandstand.

Fans in the area seemed some combination of perplexed and irritated, with a couple of them yelling at the heckler to “get him out” and “be quiet.”

“I didn’t even notice him until he started popping,” said a fan three or four rows behind where the heckler delivered his message. “I think everybody was like, ‘What the hell is this guy saying,’ so I don’t think anybody reacted for the first 15 seconds.

“I was the first person to tell him to shut up, and then everyone else started joining in. I was surprised they let him go on that long.”

Wendell Yoshida, a volunteer working at the 9th-green grandstand, said he didn’t recall seeing the heckler enter the stands, but he did see him when the official walked the heckler out. He said the fan looked to be in his mid-20s and was wearing a “big fake mustache, little sombrero, yellow printed Hawaiian shirt, tan shorts and sneakers.”

Yoshida said the official let the heckler go, “and he kept walking down the stairs trying to put his mustache back on.”

When the heckling ceased, several fans rallied behind Mickelson with cries of “We love you, Phil,” “Come on, Phil,” and “Let’s go, Phil,” followed by spirted applause.

For his part, Mickelson looked unperturbed. He paced around his line and sized up his birdie putt as if the disturbance had never happened. He offered a thumbs up to the crowd, which responded with a round of applause, and gave a small grin to his caddie (and brother) Tim. When his birdie try missed, he tapped in for par and a one-under 69 that has him seven behind Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele’s lead.

Mickelson wasn’t asked about the incident after his round, but he was asked whether he’d be willing to offer his opinion on the the LIV Golf-PGA Tour partnership that was announced last week.

“Not yet,” Mickelson said, “because I don’t want to detract right now from this tournament and where I’m at. I’m playing well. I want to get myself in contention. I’ll talk about it maybe after.”

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