Phil Mickelson on Tuesday said he regretted his recent comments in support of the Saudi-backed separatist golf tour and suggested he could take a break from golf to “prioritize the things I love most and trying to be the man I want to be. ”
“I truly regret using words that do not reflect my true feelings or intentions,” Mickelson said in a statement. “It was reckless, I offended everyone and I am deeply sorry for my choice of words. I can’t help but be disappointed and will do my best to reflect and learn from this. “
ONE Recommend Super Golf Leaguewith its main source of funding being the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, a sovereign wealth fund worth more than $400 billion, which has attempted to lure famous golfers like Mickelson to the longstanding PGA Tour. .
In an interview for an unauthorized biography to be released in May, Mickelson to journalist Alan Shipnuckauthor of the book, that he is aware of the kingdom’s “terrible human rights record”, but says he is willing to help the new coalition because it is a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to increase significant income of PGA Players Travel.
In a story posted last week on The Firepit Collective, a golf website, Shipnuck quoted Mickelson, a six-time major golf champion, as saying that the Saudi authorities were “scary” and used a vulgar word to describe them. Mickelson also credits the murder of Jamal KhashoggiWashington Post journalist who was assassinated in 2018 with the approval of the crown prince of the kingdom, according to US intelligence officials, and alludes to the criminalization of homosexuality in Saudi Arabia, where there is a punishable by death.
Mickelson’s comments prompted a backlash from the top-ranked players on the PGA Tour, nearly all of whom have publicly rejected the new alternative tournament. Rory McIlroy, a four-time champion and one of the tournament’s most respected players, called Mickelson’s remarks “naive, selfish, conceited, ignorant”.
Contemporaries of McIlroy, a young breed that now represents the hierarchy of professional golfers, also refuted remarks made by Mickelson, 51.
Jon Rahm, 27, said of the emerging Super Golf League: “I’m not doing this for the money. Rahm, who is topping the men’s golf rankings added: “They throw numbers at you to impress people. I’m in this game because I love golf, love the game, and be a champion. “
Mickelson’s longtime rival Tiger Woods also announced his allegiance to the PGA Tour, which is based in the US. And Mickelson’s comments could have supported it even further with the addition of two top golfers, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau – both of which have made no secret of the new tournament – have announced that they will be sticking with the tour.
Late Tuesday afternoon, KPMG, a professional services firm and longtime sponsor of Mickelson, announced that it would be terminating its relationship with Mickelson effective immediately.
Mickelson’s statement on Tuesday could be an attempt to avert a possible suspension of the tour. He says his actions are always “in the best interest of the golf, my colleagues, sponsors and fans”.
He also implied that his comments were, “unrecorded comments shared out of context and without my consent.”
Minutes after Mickelson made his statement, Shipnuck, on Twittercalled Mickelson’s argument that his comments had not been recorded as “totally untrue”.
While Mickelson’s statement on Tuesday was rambling, he appeared to be trying to make the case that the alternatives to the PGA Tour are not without merit.
“Golf is in dire need of change, and real change always precedes disruption,” he said. “I’ve always known that criticism comes with the discovery of anything new. I still choose to put myself first in this to inspire change, taking hits publicly to do the behind-the-scenes work.”
Mickelson, a popular player who won the 2021 PGA Championship, has told his corporate sponsors who may not want to continue their relationship with him.
“The last thing I wanted to do was compromise with them or their business in any way and I gave them all the option to pause or end the relationship,” he said, adding. : “I believe in these people and companies and will always be here for them with or without a contract. ”
Mickelson ended his statement with a discussion of his successes and failures.
“I experienced many successful and rewarding moments that I will always cherish, but I also frequently failed myself and others,” he said. “For the past 10 years I feel the pressure and stress are slowly affecting me on a deeper level. I know I’m not at my best yet and desperately need some time to prioritize the people I love most and try to be the man I want to be. ”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/22/sports/golf/mickelson-saudi-league-pga.html Phil Mickelson apologizes for supporting Saudi Arabia-backed Golf Federation