Phil Mickelson will no longer serve as the host for the American Express PGA Tour event in 2023 after his comments regarding the Saudi Arabia-backed Super Golf League.
The PGA Tour revealed the news to Larry Bohannan of the Palm Springs Desert Sun, who also wrote that the Mickelson Foundation will no longer be part of the event either.
Mickelson’s remarks occurred during a November interview with Alan Shipnuck for his upcoming biography, Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar.
However, the comments didn’t come to light until Shipnuck released the Q-and-A in advance last week.
The most controversial remarks included Mickelson’s explaining why he considered the Super Golf League despite Saudi human rights violations.
In essence, Mickelson said his issues with the PGA Tour (he’s notably criticized it for what he calls “obnoxious greed”) trump any concerns he has about the human rights record:
“We know they killed [Washington Post reporter and U.S. resident Jamal] Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights. They execute people over there for being gay. Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates. They’ve been able to get by with manipulative, coercive, strong-arm tactics because we, the players, had no recourse.”
Backlash ensued, with some fellow star golfers (e.g., Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy) expressing dismay and disappointment.
Mickelson eventually apologized for the remarks and said he’s stepping away from golf to “prioritize the ones I love most and work on being the man I want to be.”
Following his remarks, Callaway paused its relationship with Mickelson, and Workday severed ties with the six-time major winner entirely. KPMG and Amstel Light also broke off from Mickelson.
A Statement from Phil Mickelson pic.twitter.com/2saaXIxhpu
— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) February 22, 2022