Six-team winner Phil Mickelson wouldn’t leave the PGA Tour alone, but he didn’t want to talk about whether he had been sanctioned by the circuit for participating this week in the LIV Invitational, a Saudi-funded “Super League”.
Mickelson, who has not competed for four months, spoke to the press on Wednesday at the Centurion Club in suburban London, where the LIV Invitational will start Thursday, causing an earthquake in world golf by attracting some of the best players. In the world on a checkbook basis.
“I have enjoyed my time on the PGA Tour and have my say on what can and should be done better, but I prefer those conversations to remain behind closed doors. Keep in mind, I am not going to give up my PGAT Tour license, but I don’t know what It will happen,” Mickelson explained a day after former world number one Dustin Johnson left the PGA due to his new affiliation with Liv.
Mickelson spoke for the first time four months ago after he criticized the Saudi regime in an autobiography, calling it “scary”. But he added this Wednesday that this new circuit can greatly help improve the state of golf, but he does not condone the human rights violations that have occurred in Saudi Arabia.
“I am aware of what happened to Jamal Khashoggi (a journalist killed in the Saudi consulate in 2018) and I think it is horrific,” Michelson said.
During his self-imposed four-month layoff, Mickelson missed the Masters for the first time in 28 years, as well as the PGA Championship, where he was defending his title. He intends, after participating in the first leg of the LIV, to play the US Open, for which the American Golf Association has assured that LIV participants will not be banned.
Mickelson declined to comment on rumors that he was awarded $200 million (187 million euros) to participate in LIV, adding that contractual matters are being discussed privately.
This golf tournament is being financed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), with a prize pool of £200 million (€220 million). Among its participants are Johnson, Sergio Garcia, and Lee Westwood.
And after the London Championships, six more will play, four of them in the United States, one in Thailand and one in Saudi Arabia. Each of these stations cashes out more prize money than the highest-earning events on the PGA Tour, which has heightened concerns on the US Tour to drain the player. The intention of the creators of LIV is that the event will expand year by year and that in 2024 there will be 14 events.
“Reader. Beer practitioner. Web expert. Subtly charming travel geek. Friendly music specialist.”