Strange penalty costs Daniel Tosh's nephew at U.S. Open, but he's still in contention

When playing your first U.S. Open, your primary goal is survival. You don’t even start thinking about what-could-have-beens. But Mickey DeMorat, making his pro debut this week at Shinnecock, already has an agonizing, yet exhilarating, story to tell about his first major.

DeMorat, age 23, played his way into the U.S. Open by winning a playoff in a Rockville, Maryland, sectional last week, his fourth attempt at the big show. His father is his caddy. He’s so new to the Tour that he doesn’t even have any sponsors; he’s sporting his college logo, Liberty University, as he plays Shinnecock Hills. And — unlike big names like Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, and Bubba Watson — he’ll be playing on the weekend.

As far up the leaderboard as he is — he’s 4-over, tied for 23rd — he has to be wondering if he couldn’t be higher. DeMorat was hit with a two-stroke penalty on Thursday after firing a shot into the fescue to the right of the 14th hole. A marshal pointed to the wrong ball, DeMorat hit it, and then discovered his ball elsewhere in the thatch.

“I should’ve identified it,” DeMorat told Golfweek, his regret evident. Sure, it wasn’t his fault, but rules are rules, and hence, the two-stroke penalty.

Without the penalty, he’d be two strokes closer to big horses like Dustin Johnson. Two extra strokes might not be enough to make a significant difference, but when you’re talking about your first pro paycheck, quite a few zeroes are at stake.

Worth noting: DeMorat is the nephew of comedian Daniel Tosh, who is playing the part of a dutiful uncle well:




DeMorat’s got a long way to go to cash his first pro check, but he’ll do it at the U.S. Open … and he’ll carry with him a hard-earned lesson in the thicket of golf rulings, as well.

Mickey DeMorat works his way around Shinnecock Hills. (Getty)

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.