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Mickelson backtracks on Saudi Super Golf League comments

Phil Mickelson has come under fire after comments he made about the Saudi Golf League. He has since apologized and says he will be taking a break from golf.

Mickelson backtracks on Saudi Super Golf League comments
Icon Sportswire

Phil Mickelson has apologised for his "reckless" comments promoting the possible Saudi Arabia-backed Super Golf League, while he announced he will also take a break from the sport.

Johnson, DeChambeau and Mickelson on board

A number of high-profile golf stars were reportedly targeted by organisers of a lucrative alternative to the PGA Tour, including Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau.

But most of the leading names – the likes of Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Collin Morikawa – denounced the league, instead pledging their allegiance to the PGA Tour.

However, Mickelson was a vocal supporter of the new potential competition, claiming it could provide players with "leverage" as a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to "reshape how the PGA Tour operates".

The American golfer went as far as suggesting he and several other golfers paid their lawyers to construct the proposed breakaway competition's agreement, even though he stated Saudi Arabia has "a horrible record on human rights."

Mickelson: I used words I sincerely regret

Mickelson's comments prompted further backlash from McIlroy, who slated the claims, and the 51-year-old has now apologised for any offence caused by his antics.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mickelson said: "Although it doesn't look this way now given my recent comments, my actions throughout this process have always been with the best interest of golf, my peers, sponsors, and fans.

"There is the problem of off-record comments being shared out of context and without my consent, but the bigger issue is that 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.

"Golf desperately needs change, and real change is always preceded by disruption. I have always known that criticism would come with exploring anything new. 

Lefty still believes golf need a change

"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.

"Despite my belief that some changes have already been made within the overall discourse, I know I need to be accountable. 

"For the past 31 years, I have lived a very public life and I have strived to live up to my own expectations, be the role model the fans deserve, and be someone that inspires others."

Mickelson also suggested he would take a break from golf to focus on himself.

Stress taking toll on Mickelson

"I've worked to compete at the highest level, be available to media, represent my sponsors with integrity, engage with volunteers and sign every autograph for my incredible fans," he continued.

"I have experienced many successful and rewarding moments that I will always cherish, but I have often failed myself and others too.

"The past 10 years, I have felt the pressure and stress slowly affecting me at a deeper level. I know I have not been my best and desperately need some time away to prioritise the ones I love most and work on being the man I want to be."


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