Phil Mickelson retracts Saudi golf comments and loses sponsor

It’s uncertain where Phil Mickelson’s golf career will take from here, but he is taking a step back after being at the center of the controversy surrounding the Saudi Golf League in an effort to attract PGA Tour players.

Mickelson, 51 years old He issued a statement Tuesday on social media In it he apologized for the explosive comments about Saudis he made to golf writer Alan Shipnock, whose autobiography on Mickelson came out in May. Mickelson also claimed that there are “unpublishable comments being shared out of context and without my consent,” Which Shipnuck tweeted was “completely wrong.” The six-time winner ended his statement saying he “needed it badly[s] Take some time away from me to prioritize the ones I love the most and work on being the man I want to be.”

It’s unclear if that includes a golf hole.

KPMG terminated its sponsorship deal with Mickelson on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press, a decision the company described as mutual. In his statement, Mickelson said he gave his partners “the option to pause or end the relationship.” According to Forbes, Mickelson earned $40 million in endorsements between May 2020 and May 2021.

Phil Mickelson is no longer associated with KPMG /
Getty Images

Mickelson admitted to Shipnuck that he was wary of doing business with Saudi Arabia but was willing to do so due to the issues he’s having with the PGA Tour.

“They are scary moms – you have to get involved with them,” he said in an article by Shipnuck published on The Fire Pit Collective. We know they were killed [Washington Post reporter and U.S. resident Jamal] Khashoggi has an appalling human rights record. They execute people there for being gay. Knowing all this, why am I even thinking about it? Because this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour works. They were able to overcome manipulative, coercive tactics and strong arm because we, the players, had no recourse. nice man like [PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan] It comes as, unless you have leverage, it won’t do the right thing. Saudi money has finally given us that leverage. I’m not even sure I want [the SGL] To achieve success, but just the idea of ​​it allows us to get things done using [PGA] a trip.”

On Tuesday, Mickelson called those comments “reckless” and said he was “deeply sorry” for making them.

Several top players on the PGA Tour have rejected the Saudi League, and some, including Rory McIlroy and Billy Horschel, criticized Mickelson for his comments.

Phil Mickelson plays for PIF Saudi International in early February.
Getty Images

“I didn’t want to kick someone on their landing, but I thought they were naive, selfish, arrogant and ignorant,” McIlroy told reporters Sunday at Genesis Invitational.

Hurschel told the Fairways of Life podcast that Mickelson’s comments about “hateful greed” on the PGA Tour were “foolish,” and thought Mickelson was “smearing his legacy a little.”

In a mailbag on The Fire Pit Collective, Shipnuck responded to Mickelson’s “unpublishable” claim.

“Not once in our letters or when we phoned, Mickelson asked to be casual to read and I never agreed; if he had asked, Chipnak wrote, I would have pushed it hard, as this was clearly material I wanted for the book.” Mickelson simply called PI and open vein. Now claiming that the comments were unsaved is wrong and doubly wrong. “