PRO GOLFER Phil Mickelson announced in a statement on May 13, 2022 that he is retiring from the PGA tournament.
The 51-year-old has won 45 events on the PGA Tour, including six major championships; three Masters titles, two PGA Championships and one Open Championship.
What did Phil Mickelson say?
Phil Mickelson’s comments about the new Saudi Golf League sparked controversy among fellow players and fans, including Rory Mcllroy in April.
He believes the funds provided by the Saudi Golf League will help make the sport float and the money can be used to reshape the nature of the PGA Tour.
Mickelson first spoke about the Saudis to Gulf author Alan Shipnuck, who is writing a biography of him.
Shipnuck first reported the comments on golf site The Fire Pit Collective in February 2022.
“They’re scary to get involved with,” Mickelson was quoted as saying.
“We know they killed [Jamal] Khashoggi and have a terrible human rights record.
“They execute people there because they are gay. Knowing all this, why should I even consider it?
“Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape the way the PGA Tour works.
“They’ve been able to get away with manipulative, coercive, strong tactics because we, the players, had no option.
“And the Saudi money has finally given us that leverage.”
However, Mickelson has received backlash from his fellow pro golfers and has flipped his comments.
In an apology posted to social media, Mickelson said: “I used words that I sincerely regret that do not reflect my true feelings or intentions.
“It was reckless, I offended people and I’m deeply sorry for my choice of words. I am more than disappointed and will do everything I can to reflect on myself and learn from it.
“I have made many mistakes in my life and many with the public. It was never my intention to hurt anyone and I’m sorry for the people I’ve negatively impacted.”
In a newly released statement May 13, the PGA Championship said Mickelson had withdrawn from competition.
“Phil is the defending champion and currently eligible for PGA Life membership and we would have welcomed him to attend,” the PGA wrote.
They added, “We wish Phil and Amy the very best and look forward to his return to golf.”
What did Rory Mcllroy say?
Mcllroy said he was not impressed by Mickelson’s comments on the Saudi Golf League following the Fire Pit Collective article.
“Obviously I don’t want to kick someone while they’re down, but I thought [Mickelson’s comments] were naive, selfish, selfish, ignorant,” McIlroy said after his final round at the Genesis Invitational in February.
He added: “Lots of words to describe this interaction he had. It was just very surprising and disappointing, sad.
“I’m sure he’s sitting at home rethinking his position and where he’s going from here.”
What is the Saudi Golf League?
Led by Australian professional golfer Greg Norman, the Saudi Golf League is set to see 48 players compete in the PGA Tour’s rival.
The Saudi-backed plan surfaced in late 2019 and Mickelson revealed that reaching out to “pretty much every player in the top 100” would be part of the breakaway strategy.
Large financial incentives from wealthy backers would be used to entice the best players to distance themselves from the current model.
However, much like Mcllroy, a number of professional golfers have pledged their allegiance to the PGA Tour, which includes Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth, Collin Morikawa and Bryson DeChambeau.
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https://www.the-sun.com/sport/4750581/phil-mickelson-saudi-golf-league-say/ What did golfer Phil Mickelson say about the Saudi Golf League?