Phil Mickelson Reveals True Thoughts About Saudi Golf League
OH DEAR! Phil Mickelson certainly knows how to win friends and influence people. First of all he went public with his criticism of the PGA Tour. He has a serious beef with the tour over image rights and accused them of “obnoxious greed” - this from a man whose career prize money stands at well over $70m.
It is one of the worst-kept secrets in golf that Lefty has already signed a deal that commits him to the Saudis’ Super Golf League.
So it comes as something of a surprise that when speaking to respected golf writer Alan Shipnuck for his forthcoming book, “Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar”, Mickelson allegedly described the Saudis as “scary mother*******s”.
In an interview with Shipnuck, Mickelson said: “I know 20 guys who want to do this...and if the Tour doesn’t do the right thing, there is a high likelihood it’s going to happen.”
But the US PGA champion told Shipnuck that he has concerns about Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.
The author claims Mickelson told him that he didn't pretend to be excited about "hitching his fortunes to Saudi Arabia". Furthermore, he claims Mickelson admitted the SGL was nothing more than what he called "sportswashing" by a brutally repressive regime.
"We know they [the Saudis] killed journalist Jamal] Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights,” Mickelson told Shipnuck. "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. I'm not sure I even want [the SGL] to succeed, but just the idea of it is allowing us to get things done with the [PGA] Tour.
When the dust settles, it will be fascinating to see whether the Saudis still want Mickelson as one of their star attractions but he has effectively confirmed what most of us knew all along - this is about nothing but the money.
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