Phil Mickelson hits fan with ball at US Open as worried spectators rush to his aid

McIlroy takes aim at LIV Golf defectors ahead of U.S. Open

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Phil Mickelson managed to strike a fan with a stray ball on day two of the US Open on Friday. The 52-year-old was aiming to recover from a sub-par start to this year’s tournament, the only major that he is yet to win over the course of his playing career at the highest level.

Mickelson rounded off on Thursday with a disappointing score of eight over-par and was bidding to cut back the deficit with a respectable showing on day two of the action at the Country Club in Massachusetts. His weekend quickly went from bad to worse, though, when he floored a spectator with a wayward shot on the third hole.

The spectator in question was pictured lying flat on his back after he was struck by the ball, which appeared to make contact with his face. A number of fans rushed to check on his wellbeing before Mickelson ventured over to offer his apologies and help him to his feet.

The episode marked another embarrassing mishap for Mickelson, who was only above nine other players on the US Open leaderboard at the time of the incident. The three-time Masters winner endured a torrid time of things on Thursday and has been dominating the headlines due to his involvement in the controversial Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series, which held its first event last week.

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Mickelson was recently banned from the PGA Tour after signing up for the breakaway league but was permitted to compete at this month’s US Open by the powers that be in spite of his decision. Those who have opted to join the LIV Golf Series have been heavily criticised for their position over the last few weeks, mainly due to accusations of Saudi sportswashing and the large sums of money involved in bringing them to the tournament.

An open letter from an organisation formed by the families of some of those killed on 9/11 was recently sent to the agents of Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed, all of whom are playing at the US Open. Rory McIlroy also took aim at those who have decided to join the LIV Golf Series earlier this week by branding them as ‘selfish’ and questioning whether the introduction of the tournament will damage the sport of golf in the long run.

“If people want to spend money in the game, not regardless of where that money comes from, if the Saudis are hell-bent on spending money in golf let’s try to get it spent in a way that benefits the wider ecosystem,” McIlroy told reporters.

“I think that’s where I would like to see it going. But whether that happens or not, that remains to be seen. Betrayal is a very strong word. It’s disappointing.

“The players that have decided to stay on the PGA Tour maybe feel slighted in some way or feel like those guys have been selfish because it’s for personal gain and doesn’t help the entire [field]. In any industry or any business we all have to lift each other up and try to make it as best we can for everyone.”

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