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Phil Mickelson apologises for ‘reckless’ Saudi Super League comments and says he is taking a break from golf | Golf News


Phil Mickelson says he is taking a break from golf “to work on being the man I want to be”

Phil Mickelson has apologized for his “reckless” comments about a proposed Saudi-backed breakaway league and said he will be taking a break from golf.

It was revealed last week that Mickelson called the Saudis “scary motherf****** to be involved with” and questioned the country’s human rights record in an interview with Alan Shipnuck for his upcoming book on the 51-year old.

But despite this, Mickelson said the money on offer from the proposed Saudi Super League was a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates”.

He added: “They’ve been able to get by with manipulative, coercive, strong-arm tactics because we, the players, had no recourse. As nice a guy as [PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan] comes across as, unless you have leverage, he won’t do what’s right.’

“And the Saudi money has finally given us that leverage. I’m not sure I even want [the Saudi golf league] to succeed, but just the idea of ​​it is allowing us to get things done with the [PGA] Trip.”

The comments were widely criticized by the golf community, with Rory McIlroy calling the six-time major winner’s comments “egotistical and ignorant”.

Mickelson: My words do not reflect my true feelings or intentions

In his apology on Tuesday evening, Mickelson insisted he has always acted “with the best interests of golf” but regrets the words he used.

He said: “I used words I sincerely regret that do not reflect my true feelings or intentions. It was reckless, I offended people, and I am deeply sorry for my choice of words. I’m beyond disappointed and will make every effort to self-reflect and learn from this.

Sky Sports' Jamie Weir says Phil Mickelson's reputation is in tatters after his comments about the proposed Saudi-backed breakaway league and says his apology might be an attempt to save face.

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Sky Sports’ Jamie Weir says Phil Mickelson’s reputation is in tatters after his comments about the proposed Saudi-backed breakaway league and says his apology might be an attempt to save face.

Sky Sports’ Jamie Weir says Phil Mickelson’s reputation is in tatters after his comments about the proposed Saudi-backed breakaway league and says his apology might be an attempt to save face.

“I have made a lot of mistakes in my life and many have been shared with the public. My intent was never to hurt anyone and I’m so sorry to the people I have negatively impacted. This has always been about supporting the players and the game and I appreciate all the people who have given me the benefit of the doubt.”

Mickelson reiterated his belief “golf desperately needs change” and described his partnership with LIV Golf Investments, the Greg Norman-led group backed by Saudi money, as “very positive”.

“The specific people I have worked with are visionaries and have only been supportive,” Mickelson said. “More importantly they passionately love golf and share my drive to make the game better.”

Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau became the latest high-profile players to commit to the PGA tour over the weekend, but in his lengthy statement Mickelson did not rule out joining Saudi Super League.

Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson have both committed to the PGA Tour

Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson have both committed to the PGA Tour

Mickelson also said he needed time away from the game. He said: “The past 10 years I have felt the pressure and stress slowly affecting me at a deeper level. I know I have not been my best and desperately need some time away to prioritize the ones I love most and work on being the man I want to be.”

Mickelson revealed he has offered to end contracts with any sponsors that feel they can no longer back him, with accounting firm KPMG announcing they ended their sponsorship with him.

While Shipnuck tweeted Tuesday Mickelson’s claims he spoke off the record were completely false.

Mickelson’s reputation is in tatters and it will be difficult to recover

By Sky Sports News’ Jamie Weir

Mickelson is a legend of the game, one of the greatest players ever to pick up a golf club, a six-time major champion, and a reigning major champion.

But there is no doubt his reputation is in tatters after what had happened over the last few weeks and I think this statement can be summed up as “sorry, not sorry”. Sorry, essentially, that I’ve been rumbled. Sorry that I’ve been caught like a kid with his fingers in the cookie jar.

He says his words have been taken out of context and that it was reckless, that he has offended people. He has apologised, for the choice of words used, but he also tries to defend himself by saying, ‘I was only looking after the best interests of golf’.

Rory McIlroy said the proposed Saudi Arabia-backed breakaway golf league was 'dead in the water' after Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau committed to the PGA Tour.

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Rory McIlroy said the proposed Saudi Arabia-backed breakaway golf league was ‘dead in the water’ after Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau committed to the PGA Tour.

Rory McIlroy said the proposed Saudi Arabia-backed breakaway golf league was ‘dead in the water’ after Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau committed to the PGA Tour.

I think it smacks of him being desperate to save face, desperate to keep sponsors on board. He is trying to keep a lot of people happy and I’m not sure he is going to succeed with this statement. I don’t think it’s going to do much to appeal to people.

Is there a way back? Who knows? I think his reputation has suffered a great deal.

I know for a fact that a lot of the younger players in the game, like Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth, who have put Phil on a pedestal throughout their careers and looked up to him as a friend and a mentor have lost an awful lot of respect for him.

The No Lay Up podcast's Chris Solomon says the PGA Tour could penalise Phil Mickelson after his comments on the potential breakaway Saudi Super League.

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The No Lay Up podcast’s Chris Solomon says the PGA Tour could penalise Phil Mickelson after his comments on the potential breakaway Saudi Super League.

The No Lay Up podcast’s Chris Solomon says the PGA Tour could penalise Phil Mickelson after his comments on the potential breakaway Saudi Super League.

That will be difficult to recover – but memories can be pretty short.

I think there are knock-on questions about what it means for his Ryder Cup legacy. People almost had him inked in to be Ryder Cup captain in New York in 2025, so do the PGA of America really want to hitch their wagon to someone as volatile as Phil Mickelson, someone who is still causing such controversy at the age of 51 when , frankly, he should know a bit better?

There is also not one mention of the PGA Tour, one apology to them for dragging their name through the mud. He has won $95m on the PGA Tour over his career, they have given him an incredibly lucrative career. Off the course, he has made anywhere between $500m and £1billion in endorsements. He has got a huge pension fund thanks to the PGA Tour.

He owes the PGA tour an awful lot and has treated them with absolute contempt over the last few weeks with some of his comments.

It seems fairly clear he will not be at the Players Championship. Had he been there, it would have been a real sideshow for the PGA Tour, so when will we see him again? Will we see him at Augusta for the Masters?

Mickelson’s statement in full

Although it doesn’t look this way now given my recent comments, my actions throughout this process have always been with the best interest of golf, my peers, sponsors, and fans. There is the problem of off-record comments being shared out of context and without my consent, but the bigger issue is that I used words I sincerely regret that do not reflect my true feelings or intentions. It was reckless, I offended people, and I am deeply sorry for my choice of words. I’m beyond disappointed and will make every effort to self-reflect and learn from this.

Golf desperately needs change, and real change is always preceded by disruption. I have always known that criticism would come with exploring anything new. I still chose to put myself at the forefront of this to inspire change, taking the hits publicly to do the work behind the scenes.

Rich Beem says Phil Mickelson's attempts to change the PGA Tour by considering the proposed Saudi tour don't make sense.

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Rich Beem says Phil Mickelson’s attempts to change the PGA Tour by considering the proposed Saudi tour don’t make sense.

Rich Beem says Phil Mickelson’s attempts to change the PGA Tour by considering the proposed Saudi tour don’t make sense.

My experience with LIV Golf Investments has been very positive. I apologise for anything I said that was taken out of context. The specific people I have worked with are visionaries and have only been supportive. More importantly they passionately love golf and share my drive to make the game better. They have a clear plan to create an updated and positive experience for everyone including players, sponsors, networks, and fans.

I have incredible partners, and these relationships mean so much more to me than a contract. Many have been my most influential mentors and I consider all to be lifelong friends. The last thing I would ever want to do is compromise them or their business in any way, and I have given all of them the option to pause or end the relationship as I understand it might be necessary given the current circumstances. I believe in these people and companies and will always be here for them with or without a contract.

I have made a lot of mistakes in my life and many have been shared with the public. My intent was never to hurt anyone and I’m so sorry to the people I have negatively impacted. This has always been about supporting the players and the game and I appreciate all the people who have given me the benefit of the doubt.

Despite my belief that some changes have already been made within the overall discourse, I know I need to be accountable. For the past 31 years I have lived a very public life and I have strived to live up to my own expectations, be the role model the fans deserve, and be someone that inspires others. I’ve worked to compete at the highest level, be available to media, represent my sponsors with integrity, engage with volunteers and sign every autograph for my incredible fans. I have experienced many successful and rewarding moments that I will always cherish, but I have often failed myself and others too. The past 10 years I have felt the pressure and stress slowly affecting me at a deeper level. I know I have not been my best and desperately need some time away to prioritize the ones I love most and work on being the man I want to be.

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