Phil Mickelson returns to British shores to take on the Carnoustie links course at this week’s 147th Open.
The tall left-handed American, winner of five Major Championships - including three US Masters green jackets, tees off today in an attempt to add to his 2013 Open victory.
It's been a mixed year so far for the 48-year-old, who was lucky to avoid the ultimate sanction of disqualification during this year’s US Open, after hitting a ball that was still moving.
Mickelson had over hit a putt on the 13th green and chased after the ball, playing the ball before it had stopped rolling.
USPGA adjudicators handed down a two-shot penalty to Mickelson for a serious breach of etiquette. However, many players and ex-professionals felt that the transgression merited disqualification.
The rules of the game are clear on how his breach should have been handled with observers feeling that the committee ducked the seriousness of the breach.
However, Martin Slumbers, the R&A's Chief Executive said this week that they have considered what they would do if a similar scenario played out at Carnoustie, suggesting that they would be more rigid, likely choosing to invoke rule 33-7.
Slumbers said: "We understand the USGA and the referees' decisions that were made at Shinnecock, and we completely respect those decisions," per The Express.
"In the event of a similar situation this week, clearly, the first thing is you understand the facts because you never get the same situation and there will be lots of reasons.
"But we have looked very carefully at the rules and I don't think it was good for the game and not the right way to have played this wonderful sport.
"We would make a decision based on the facts of any incident that happened later in the week. There are other parts of the rule book which refer to etiquette and the powers of the committee, and we're fully aware of those clauses that are in that rule."
The Open returns to Carnoustie for the first time in a decade, and while the links course and event are admired by golfers around the world, local residents feel that the event has become too big for the town.
Given the headlines surrounding Mickelson's antics at the US Open, the Royal & Ancient chief is not worried about the matter. And his feelings about hosting the Open, his first Carnoustie Open as CEO, are more positive than those who will endure the commotion for a week or so.
Slumbers added: "Carnoustie is a great links course. Actually, once you get here, there is plenty of space to build it. If you go back to 1999, bringing the Open here transformed Carnoustie."
"It transformed it in terms of the money that was invested in the golf course, in the golf club, in the infrastructure around here to make it happen.
"The Open brings huge value to Carnoustie as a golf course and as a town for decades to come, and this course is driven by tourists playing here.
"At the moment, we have no concerns over any of our Open venues from an infrastructure point of view."
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