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Golfer Phil Mickelson has apologized for controversial comments he made about Saudi Arabia and a fledgling Saudi-backed golf league that was hoping to lure stars away from the old golf establishment.
in the current situation Posted on social media on Tuesday, Mickelson wrote that he “used words I deeply regret” in a recently published interview in which the six-time winner called the Saudi regime a “scary mother******” and disregarded the well-known human being. Rights violations, including the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“It was reckless, I offended people, and I am deeply sorry for my choice of words,” Mickelson wrote.
The apology comes after a backlash to comments made by Mickelson regarding the Super Golf League, a renegade league that aspires to lure stars away from the world’s leading professional golf organizations, including the PGA Tour. SGL is reportedly funded by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.
Mickelson has been perhaps the most famous golfer to support the Super Golf League since his details first became public several years ago.
But heads were turned last week on Mickelson’s comments about Saudi Arabia and the junior league that were published in an excerpt from an “unauthorized” biography of Mickelson written by golf writer Alan Shipnock.
“It’s a scary mum to take part in,” Mickelson said in the November interview and published last week on the golf website 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.”
Mickelson said the Saudi-backed golf tournament gave players leverage over the PGA Tour
In the interview, Mickelson criticized the way the PGA Tour compensates its players. The league controls the media rights of players, and its prize structure flattens out winnings between top golfers and lesser-known players near the bottom of the rankings.
“Saudi money has finally given us that leverage. Not sure I want to [the SGL] To achieve success, but just the idea of it allows us to get things done using [PGA] Tour,” Mickelson said in the interview.
In his statement on Tuesday, Mickelson noted that his words were taken “out of context” and that the interview with Shipnuck was unpublishable – a claim Shipnuck said “false and double-edged.”
“Not once in our letters or when we phoned Mickelson asked off the record and I never consented to it; if he had asked, I would have argued vigorously, as this was clearly material I wanted to book,” Shipnuck wrote Tuesday.
The “unpublishable” piece of this is completely wrong and I’ll have more to say about that soon. https://t.co/7cogbJlneK
– Alan Shipnuck (@AlanShipnuck) February 22 2022
The eye-opening comments stirred up the professional golf world. In the days that followed, many high-profile players who were rumored to be considering SGL publicly committed to PGA instead.
Mickelson loses major care
Accounting firm Big Four KPMG, which has long sponsored Mickelson, announced Tuesday that the company and the golfer “mutually agreed” to end the sponsorship.
“I have made a lot of mistakes in my life and many of them have been shared with the public. My goal was never to hurt anyone and I am so sorry for the people I have affected negatively. This has always been about supporting the players and the game and I appreciate all the people who have given me the benefit of the doubt,” he wrote Mickelson in his statement.
Mickelson, who has missed recent PGA events, suggested he take a longer break from golf.
“Over the past 10 years, I have felt pressure and stress slowly affecting me on a deeper level. I know I was not at my best and desperately need some time away to prioritize those I love most and work on being the man I want to be,” he said.