‘Toxic’ Phil Mickelson to face the music over Saudi Arabia fiasco with calls expected for him to be suspended from the PGA tour following extraordinary interview
- Phil Mickelson looks set to face calls to be suspended from the PGA Tour
- He admitted actively working against the PGA Tour, where he has earned approximately £300million during his illustrious career
- World No6 Justin Thomas says he won’t shed tears if Mickelson is suspended
Phil Mickelson will almost certainly face calls to be suspended from the PGA Tour at what is likely to be a highly charged players’ meeting at the Honda Classic in Florida on Tuesday.
Feelings are still running high in the locker room following the extraordinary interview he gave for a new biography, in which he admitted actively working against the PGA Tour, where he has earned approximately £300million during his illustrious career, in favour of a proposed Saudi golf revolution.
‘I don’t know what to say other than I hope to God I don’t get drawn to play alongside him any time soon,’ said one irate member of the PGA Tour’s player advisory council. ‘What the hell’s wrong with him? He has to be suspended after this, doesn’t he?’
Phil Mickelson will almost certainly face calls to be suspended from the PGA Tour
A PGA Tour spokesman said ‘we don’t plan any comment’ on such a move, but it seems a prima facie case after Mickelson admitted in the interview to teaming up with three other players, whom he declined to name, and their lawyers to draw up the structure for the proposed Saudi Golf League.
Mickelson has been offered a rumoured £70m to be one of the key figures, with a planned start date this year for a circuit comprising 14 events.
Mickelson had already alienated most players in an earlier interview in Golf Digest, in which he accused PGA Tour officialdom of ‘obnoxious greed’ in a dispute over media rights.
He then put the tin lid on matters by biting the other hand that feeds him, calling the Saudis ‘crazy motherf*****s to be involved with’ in the book interview and claiming he was only dealing with them as leverage to secure better terms on the PGA Tour.
‘Whether you’re interested in what the Saudis have to offer or siding with the status quo, who wants to be associated with Phil after this?’ said one leading PGA Tour figure. ‘He’s totally toxic.’
Mickelson has stayed away from the tour since trousering a massive appearance fee to play in the Saudi Invitational a fortnight ago. He is a two-time winner of the Genesis Invitational taking place here just a couple of hours from his home in San Diego, but did not enter despite its elevated PGA Tour status and $2.1m first prize. He is not playing in the Honda event either, despite being a regular at past editions.
What a sad state of affairs it all represents, given what happened last May when Mickelson achieved perhaps the height of his popularity after becoming the first fifty-something to win a major at the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island.
Justin Thomas has said he wont shed tears if Mickelson has played his last PGA Tour event
World No6 Justin Thomas called his comments ‘egotistical’ and made it clear he would not be shedding any tears if Mickelson has played his last PGA Tour event. ‘He’s done a lot of great things for this tour but if he and others are that passionate about the Saudis, go ahead to their Super Golf League,’ he said. ‘Nobody’s stopping them.’
Even his mates on tour have turned against him. ‘I know Phil has got a lot of stress in his life but I don’t know what he’s doing because he’s not speaking to me,’ said Pat Perez. ‘That’s OK because I actually don’t really care what he has to say about anything.’
The Genesis event? At halfway, Chilean Joaquin Niemann held a two-shot lead over American Cameron Young after shattering the 36-hole record with two rounds of 63 for a 16-under-par total.