Rory McIlroy has described Phil Mickelson’s comments about a new Saudi Arabia-backed breakaway golf tour as “naive, selfish, egotistical and ignorant”.
During an hour-long interview in November with writer Alan Shipnuck, Mickelson described the tour as a “once in a lifetime opportunity” even though he was aware of the country’s terrible human rights record.
McIlroy and other players on the PGA Tour have distanced themselves from the Saudi Arabian tour, which the Northern Irishman describes as dead in the water.
“I thought they were naive, selfish, egotistical, ignorant. A lot of words to describe that interaction he had with (Alan) Shipnuck. It was very surprising and disappointing, sad. I’m sure he’s sitting at home sort of rethinking his position and where he goes from here”, McIlroy said.
The epicentre of the professional world still revolves around Tiger (Woods). He is the epicentre and if they don’t have him, it doesn’t really. Not even if they don’t have him because who knows when he’s going to play again, but if they don’t have his blessing, even, they’ve got no chance.”
“There’s no one. It’s dead in the water in my opinion. I don’t … I just can’t see any reason why anyone would go.”
“I know the way these guys have operated and it’s all been smoke and mirrors and they’ve created rumours and spread rumours and tried to play one guy off another guy and said one thing to one manager and a different thing to another manager and it’s just sort of created this chaos and confusion around that group. Everyone’s questioning everyone else’s motives. So they’ve just sort of played everyone off one another. I think it’s nice now that we’re all, we can sit down and say that we’re all on the same page here.”
“Don’t try to fix something that’s not broken. I don’t think that the tour and the system is broken. Are there things that could evolve and get better? Sure and maybe create better fan experiences for people watching at home or when they come to tournaments. Different formats, stuff like that. Yeah of course, there’s certainly room for all of that. But all I would say to the golf fans is, the PGA Tour are working on that. There is room for some other things at the top of the game that guys can get excited about and the fans can get excited about and maybe switch it up from the regular 72 holes week in week out.”