It seems six-time major winner Phil Mickelson has taken somewhat of a U-turn on his thoughts regarding the proposed Saudi Golf League
Phil Mickelson has branded the state of Saudi Arabia ‘scary motherf*****s’ after admitting he is only flirting with the controversial Saudi Golf League (SGL) to gain leverage on the PGA Tour.
Rumours surrounding the newly proposed circuit have taken the world of golf by storm in recent months, with the league providing a big split of opinion between some of the best players on the planet.
The new series is being led by former world No 1 Greg Norman, with the mega-money funding of Saudi-backed company LIV Golf Investments looking to lure some of the game’s best away from the PGA Tour and DP World Tour.
The group of players contacted by Norman and the Saudi League included Mickelson, after the American spoke openly about the deal, whilst slamming the circuit he has played nearly all of his professional golf on – the PGA Tour.
However, the six-time major champion seems to have taken somewhat of a u-turn on the Saudi-backed series, after describing the Middle Eastern Kingdom as ‘scary motherf*****s’.
Speaking about the SGL in a soon to be released biography titled, ‘Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar’, he said in an excerpt from the book: “They’re scary motherf*****s to get involved with.”
He continued: “We know they killed [Washington Post reporter Jamal] Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights.
“They execute people over there for being gay. Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates.
“They’ve been able to get by with manipulative, coercive, strong-arm tactics because we, the players, had no recourse.
“As nice a guy as [PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan] comes across as, unless you have leverage, he won’t do what’s right. And the Saudi money has finally given us that leverage.”
Mickelson’s comments come just two weeks after he received a lucrative seven-figure offer from the Saudi League, whilst also criticising the PGA Tour for its ‘obnoxious greed’.
He told Golf Digest : “It’s not public knowledge, all that goes on.
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“But the players don’t have access to their own media. If the tour wanted to end any threat [from Saudi], they could just hand back the media rights to the players…
“The media rights are but a small fraction of everything else. And it is the tour’s obnoxious greed that has really opened the door for opportunities elsewhere.”
The PGA Tour has since responded to Mickelson’s ‘obnoxious greed’ comments, accusing Mickelson of ‘making up’ the claims.
A ‘PGA Tour Executive’ told Golf.com : “I’ve never seen anybody be really interested in how we generate the money.
“There’s some conversation about it now because, you know, Phil’s making stuff up that’s just not true.
“But in general, they’re happy that there’s a lot of money that comes from it.”