Mickelson issues apology over Saudi comments
It has been one of the most turbulent times in the golf world. And now it’s all come to a head with one of the leading faces of the proposed Saudi-backed Super League falling on his sword.
After weeks of intense media pressure following his comments about the Super League and using it as leverage against the PGA Tour’s ‘dictatorship’, Phil Mickelson has issued an official apology.
Phil Mickelson won his 6th major title at the 2021 PGA Championship (Credit: PGA Tour)
“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,” wrote the 51-year-old on his popular Twitter account and indicating he intended his comments to be off-record.
“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.”
While Mickelson’s earlier comments caused a lot of anger amongst fans and insiders alike, it was last week’s release of off-the-record comments made to golf journalist and author Alan Shipnuck that really brought everything to a head. Shipnuck is set to release an unauthorised biography about Mickelson – “Phil: The Rip-Roaring Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar.”
The 45-time PGA Tour winner will now take some time away from the game, admitting that the pressure has been building for some time and perhaps his explosive comments can be attributed in part to that.
“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 prioritise the ones I love most and work on being the man I want to be.”
Along with a sizeable dent in his legacy, Mickelson will also be looking at a lighter wallet with his long-time sponsor KPMG pulling the plug alongside Amstel Light with more likely to come.
And what does that mean to Phil in terms of money generated off-course?
Well according to reports, Mickelson was 29th on the world’s highest-paid athletes list last year with around $40 million from sponsorship deals; he earnt roughly $4 million between the PGA Tour and Champions Tour including his PGA Championship win which accounts for half of that total alone.
As a three-time Masters winner it will be interesting to see if he turns up at Augusta National in just over six weeks time…something tells me he may choose to skip this year’s event.