Thursday, December 1, 2022

Phil Mickelson apologizes for recent comments, needs ‘some time away’

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The 51-year-old celebrity has been on the middle of a storm since Thursday, when feedback he gave to golf journalist Alan Shipnuck final fall have been made public. In these remarks, Mickelson mentioned he was keen to interact with a Saudi-backed try at launching a golf league that will rival the PGA Tour.

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Mickelson did categorical misgivings about these he referred to as the “scary motherf—–s” representing a regime with a “horrible record on human rights.” But his feedback additionally included describing the enterprise as “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates,” which instantly drew condemnation from fellow gamers and in different sectors. His bluntness in regards to the Saudis and his arguably cynical causes for aiding their enterprise appeared to backfire rapidly, with different prime gamers linked to the nascent league pledging loyalty to the PGA Tour.

Amid a normal sense within the golf world that Mickelson had performed main injury to his picture and the probabilities for success of the Saudi enterprise, he acknowledged: “I used words I sincerely regret that do not reflect my true feelings or intentions. 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.”

Mickelson didn’t specify what might have been seen as offensive. He additionally praised LIV Golf Investments, a Saudi-backed entity headed by Hall of Famer Greg Norman that has been behind the creation of the brand new league.

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“The specific people I have worked with are visionaries and have only been supportive,” Mickelson wrote. “More importantly they passionately love golf and share my drive to make the game better.” He added that golf “desperately needs change, and real change is always preceded by disruption.”

The six-time main champion — who basked in an outpouring of adulation final yr when his victory on the PGA Championship made him the oldest man to win a serious event — forged himself as a possible martyr for the reason for bettering his sport.

“I have always known that criticism would come with exploring anything new,” he wrote. “I still chose to put myself at the forefront of this to inspire change, taking the hits publicly to do the work behind the scenes.”

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Mickelson additionally asserted that his feedback to Shipnuck, who’s writing an unauthorized biography of the golfer, have been “off [the] record” and “shared out of context.”

Shipnuck, a longtime author for Sports Illustrated and Golf Magazine who’s now with the Fire Pit Collective, pushed again on that declare, tweeting, “The ‘off the record’ piece of this is completely false.”

“Not once in our texts or when we got on the phone did Mickelson request to go off-the-record and I never consented to it; if he had asked, I would have pushed back hard, as this was obviously material I wanted for the book,” Shipnuck subsequently wrote in a Q&A. “Mickelson simply called me up and opened a vein. To claim now that the comments were off-the-record is false and duplicitous.”

“My take is that he wanted his true feelings on record but, as always, was working both sides of the street,” Shipnuck added. “If he wound up signing with the SGL [short for the Super Golf League or the Saudi Golf League], at least the quotes would serve as a signal to golf fans that he knows the Saudis are bad actors and it’s strictly a business decision. If he remained in the fold with the PGA Tour, he would have made it clear he did so only after extracting many of the concessions he wanted, thus fulfilling the need … to feel like he had outsmarted everyone else.”

In his publish, Mickelson additionally mentioned he gave his sponsors and company companions “the option to pause or end the relationship as I understand it might be necessary given the current circumstances.” Shortly thereafter, KPMG U.S. issued a press release wherein it mentioned that it and Mickelson “have mutually agreed to end our sponsorship effective immediately.”

“We wish him the best,” added KPMG, which has sponsored Mickelson since 2008, throughout which its emblem has develop into a well-recognized sight on his headwear. The accounting {and professional} providers agency famous that it’s nonetheless sponsoring different opponents on the PGA and LPGA circuits, in addition to the Women’s PGA Championship.

Mickelson has not performed on the PGA Tour since lacking the minimize final month on the Farmers Insurance Open; extra just lately, he competed on the Saudi International, which is a part of the Asian Tour. It just isn’t clear when he may play once more or if he faces a suspension from the PGA Tour, which he didn’t point out in his apology.

According to Shipnuck’s account, Mickelson criticized the PGA Tour for all the time wanting “more and more” and having a have to “control everything.” He made related claims publicly whereas on the Saudi International, the place he blasted the tour for charging him massive quantities to make use of footage of his personal photographs.

“That type of greed is, to me, beyond obnoxious,” Mickelson mentioned final month.

“Although it doesn’t look this way now given my recent comments,” he wrote Tuesday, “my actions throughout this process have always been with the best interest of golf, my peers, sponsors, and fans.”

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