McIlroy: It’s time to cut Mickelson some slack

It’s time to cut embattled Phil Mickelson some slack. That’s the view of Rory McIlroy as long-time sponsors of Mickelson wasted little time in dumping the six-time major winner over recent controversial comments.

Mickelson is taking a break from the game after losing sponsors KPMG, Amstel Light, and Workday, while Callaway Golf only a few days ago stated they would be ‘pausing’ their long-time equipment deal with the now 51-year-old.

Phil Mickelson Phil Mickelson (Credit: PGA Tour)

Speaking ahead of last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, McIlroy was asked for his take on the speed with which Mickelson’s sponsors have been looking to disassociate themselves from him, and also if he thought the whole situation was just one big unfortunate mess.

“It is unfortunate,” McIlroy said, who previously didn’t hold back on his thoughts about Mickelson’s Saudi comments, declaring his words to be “naive, selfish, egotistical and ignorant”.

“I think Phil has been a wonderful ambassador for the game of golf and still is a wonderful ambassador for the game of golf. It’s unfortunate that a few comments that he thought he was making in confidence or off the record got out there and were – not used against him – but this whole situation is unfortunate.”

“Look, Phil will be back. I think the players want to see him back. He’s done such a wonderful job for the game of golf, and he’s represented the game of golf very, very well for the entirety of his career.”

“We all make mistakes. We all say things we want to take back. No one is different in that regard. But we should be allowed to make mistakes, and we should be allowed to ask for forgiveness and for people to forgive us and move on.

“Hopefully he comes back at some stage, and he will, and people will welcome him back and be glad that he is back.”

McIlroy had been slow to first compete in the Arnold Palmer and he did so before we lost Palmer on the eve of the week of the 2016 Ryder Cup, and in 2018 McIlroy ended a then 18-month winless drought when laying claim to the famous red cardigan awarded to champions at Bay Hill.

“It’s been a course that’s fit my eye from the first time I played here, and just one of those courses that I enjoy coming back to and feel like I can contend at.”

While McIlroy looked in hot form at the Arnold Palmer Invitational with an opening round 65, back to back rounds of 76 across the weekend saw him drop away into a share of 13th place at 1-over.