Paul McGinley insists Phil Mickelson ‘had to double-check’ Saudi comments for urgent PGA Tour return

Paul McGinley insists the threat to the status quo of golf has not gone away, but he believes Phil Mickelson will have to step back if he is welcomed back to the PGA Tour.

The left-handed man is currently out of action after losing a bunch of sponsors over his controversial comments about the Saudi Arabia-backed Super Golf League project being spearheaded by Greg Norman.

Mickelson told journalist Alan Shipnuck that he invited three other “top players” and paid lawyers to write SGL’s operating agreement, but he did not hold back his criticism of Saudi Arabia. Ut or his indifference to their sports cleanup campaign.

“They’re scary assholes to join,” Mickelson said. “We know they killed (Washington Post reporter and Jamal, US resident) Khashoggi and have a terrible record on human rights.

“They execute people there for being gay. Knowing all of this, why am I even considering it? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA works. Tour.

“They were able to get through with manipulative, coercive, heavy-handed tactics because we, the players, had no choice but to do what was right.

“And the Saudi money ultimately gave us that leverage. I’m not sure I even want (SGL) to succeed, but just the idea of ​​it allows us to get things done with (PGA) Tour.”

McGinley is at Sawgrass on TV duty and he can’t see his way back for Mickelson unless he makes a turn-around against the SGL and Saudis.

“Phil was a goalscorer,” McGinley said on Golf Channel, recalling how Mickelson attacked Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson after that Ryder Cup loss to his European team at Gleneagles in 2014, which led to the establishment of the US Ryder Cup task force. .

“He considers himself a pioneer. He’s bright; he’s smart. the way he holds hands.

“But he provoked change there and he probably felt this was a way to provoke change and he did.”

Since his comments about Saudi Arabia and his efforts to sabotage the PGA Tour became public, the Californian has lost major sponsors in KPMG, Workday, Amstel and Callaway.

McGinley sees a way back, but it will require a humiliating climb by the six-time major winner.

“I think he has to step back before he moves forward,” said McGinley. “He’s regressed from his position at the moment. He has to back away from that before he does anything.

“But to get back into the ecosystem, you can’t be on both sides of the fence. You can’t try to drive change and a whole new way to play the game and a new business model.

“Remember, this isn’t just about creating some new event. This is about a franchise, business model that involves ownership.”

PGA Tour Commissioner Monahan would not comment on whether any disciplinary action has been taken against Mickelson, but he made his stance clear when asked about the bans or suspensions. a lifetime fight can happen.

“How do you react to situations about a league that doesn’t exist?” Monahan told NBC.

“So I think if a player goes to another tournament, they have chosen to go to that tournament and not participate in this tour and so I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect that you can monetize the benefits of the PGA Tour while also looking to get rid of the organization from within,” he said in an interview with NBC.

“Our rules stipulate that a player who causes financial or reputational damage to the PGA Tour will face fines, suspension or disqualification. That’s clear. existence. “

The PGA Tour is looking at unprecedented purse growth over the next few years thanks to its new TV deals.

It has also formed a “strategic alliance” with the DP World Tour, formerly the European Tour, to counter the threats.

These are threats that, according to McGinley, a DP World Tour board member, have yet to go away.

Recounting the history of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in golf, McGinley explains how Saudi Arabia became a European Tour event in two years, paying players a hefty appearance fee.

“They came through established channels and wanted to grow the game,” said Dubliner McGinley.

“They talk about diversity in the game. They talk about investing money in the game and we calculate slowly but surely we will strengthen the relationship.

“But we came to a fork then with the European Tour and it was the Premier League Golf League at that stage who wanted to reinvent the game if you want to call it both in terms of business model and in terms of sport. the way it played by making it a team event.

“We (European Tour) were offered a lot of money.

“But the board of directors of the European Tour, of which I am a member, made a very strong decision that no, we will not go down the new path of reinventing the game and reinventing the business model. business of the game that our future is the current ecosystem suitable for the PGA Tour.

“Jay Monaghan and his board agreed and we were moving in that direction. At that point the idea of ​​the Premier League was disbanded and the Saudis came up with the idea. their own for a Super Golf Tournament, which is where we are now.

“That Super Golf League is based on the idea of ​​not being part of the current ecosystem and starting on its own, trying to put the top players at the heart of it, having a string of up to 15 events that still has not been determined.

“As Jay said, nothing has been announced, but there are 15 events that come with major championships, so players will have 19 or 20 events on their schedule and get paid some money. huge, exorbitant for that..”

McGinley explained that DP World Tour has accepted it as a junior partner of the PGA Tour now and will act as a feeder tour with more and more co-accepting events on both sides.

“We are there to elevate that and make the PGA Tour the premier golf tournament in the world,” he said. “We realize that the DP World Tour won’t be, but we’d love to have some sort of international arm and create a pathway for players to join the ecosystem through the European Tour and perhaps Korn. Ferry Tour and then graduated on the top tour of the world, which is the PGA tour.”

As for the existential threat to the status quo from Greg Norman and Saudi or other players, he doesn’t believe it’s gone.

“As long as the players are independent traders, it is difficult to tie them down,” he said. “And we know private equity has invested a lot in sport. I know they’ve invested a lot in Formula 1 and they’ve invested a lot in rugby at home and they’ve invested a lot into soccer teams at home and I know that private equity is all sport at the moment.

“We see a lot of growth coming in the sports sector, so who can say that private equity if Saudi Arabia doesn’t move forward then private equity won’t. And if Saudi Arabia doesn’t move forward then private equity won’t. If you don’t move forward, what’s the next way to play?

“It’s very difficult to have any form of successful risk taking when you don’t have the top 20 players in the world, and they’re all committed to the PGA Tour. So this is dead, but it’s not over yet. end.” Paul McGinley insists Phil Mickelson ‘had to double-check’ Saudi comments for urgent PGA Tour return

Fry Electronics Team

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