Phil Mickelson apologises for 'reckless' comments about the Saudi Super League

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Phil Mickelson apologises for ‘reckless and offensive’ behaviour amid Saudi Super League backlash as veteran reveals he needs ‘time away’ from the sport… but defiantly insists golf NEEDS change

  • Phil Mickelson has apologised for his ‘reckless’ comments made recently 
  • The 51-year-old admitted he used the Super League as leverage against the PGA 
  • Rory McIlroy hit out at his colleague for contributing to ‘chaos and confusion’
  • Now Mickelson says he needs ‘time away’ amid the strong backlash against him 


Phil Mickelson mixed abject contrition with deep defiance in a long statement last night as he finally issued a response to the furore caused by his recent behaviour.

With barely a friend left among his peers and administrators following two appallingly damaging interviews, he acknowledged he had been ‘reckless and offensive.’ But he stuck to his guns regarding the future of the game. ‘Golf desperately needs change and real change is always preceded by disruption,’ he said.

He’s certainly been disruptive, first accusing the PGA Tour of ‘obnoxious greed’ in an interview with Golf Digest. He then followed it by confiding to the author of a soon to be published biography that he was only playing along with the Saudis with regard to their proposal for a Super Golf League, and that they were ‘scary mother*****s’ to deal with in reality.

Phil Mickelson has apologised for his 'reckless' comments about the Saudi Super League

Phil Mickelson has apologised for his ‘reckless’ comments about the Saudi Super League

‘Although it doesn’t look that way now given my recent comments, my actions throughout have been have always been with the best interests of golf, my peers, sponsors and fans,’ he began. ‘There is the problem of off the record comments being shared out of context (something the author, Alan Shipnuck, swiftly denied was the case) and without my consent but the bigger issue is I used words that 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 am beyond disappointed and will make every effort to self-reflect and learn from this.’ Then came the defiance, as he tried to play the martyr card. ‘I have always known that criticism would come with exploring something new. 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.’ 

As for the Saudis, he got down on bended knee. ‘My experience with LIV Golf Investments (their public face) has been very positive and I apologize for anything that was taken out of context. The specific people I have worked with are visionaries and have only been supportive. More importantly, they passionately love golf and share my drive to make the game better.’ 

The 51-year-old admitted that he used the breakaway league as leverage against the PGA

The 51-year-old admitted that he used the breakaway league as leverage against the PGA

Mickelson says that he needs 'time away' to reflect after receiving significant backlash

Mickelson says that he needs ‘time away’ to reflect after receiving significant backlash

Many have been wondering how Mickelson’s recent meltdown would play with his sponsors, who pay him tens of millions of dollars, something that’s clearly occurred to the man himself. In the next section, it was their turn for a plea for forgiveness. ‘I have incredible partners and the last thing I would want to do is compromise them or their business in any way,’ he said.

Finally, he talked about the stress he’s been under and hinted that he is ready to take a break from the game. It will leave many to wonder whether the current USPGA Champion will make it to this season’s first major in April, and a Masters tournament that he’s won three times.

‘The past ten years I have felt the pressure and stress slowly affect me at a deeper level,’ he concluded. ‘I know I have not been at my best and desperately need some time away to prioritize the ones I love most and work on being the man I want to be.’ The statement came out exactly an hour before a mandatory Players’ Meeing in Florida – where there were expected to be calls from the floor for his suspension for conduct unbecoming.

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