Phil Mickelson says that he “said and did many things that I regretted” when he recalled the history of human rights in Saudi Arabia ahead of the LIV Golf series.

St Albans, England

Wearing a black hat with a matching jumper, and sitting in front of a black back before assembling the media, it would be easy to assume that Phil Mickelson’s magical decision parallels how he feels about the months of adversity.

Although the American athlete was not as tired as his attire when answering questions Wednesday about taking part in the much-anticipated LIV Golf team, he was calm in the evening to take part in some of the most lucrative golf courses in the world.

A few months have passed for Mickelson, 51, who has not played since the controversial comments on Saudi Arabia’s financial affairs were published earlier this year by his historian. All the attention at Wednesday’s press conference was on him.

The six-time winner was mentioned in a 2021 question by author Alan Shipnuck in his forthcoming book, “Phil: The Rip-Roaring (also Unpopulated!) Super League because it is” the only chance to improve the PGA Tour. ”

Shipnuck quoted Mickelson as saying that he had shot dead human rights activists in Saudi Arabia and that the regime had killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The LIV Golf list is sponsored by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), an independent financial institution led by Mohammed bin Salman, a Saudi Arabian prince and a man whom US lawmakers have described as having approved the project. led the 2018 assassination of Khashoggi. Bin Salman has denied any involvement in Khashoggi’s assassination.

Mickelson said in February he had “taken a short time” from golf after being criticized for his comments. He later lost a number of supporters in the dispute and, on Monday, posted a tweet, in which he apologized for his previous comments.

In his opening remarks at a press conference on Wednesday, when asked about the history of human rights fundraising for the country, Mickelson appeared disappointed.

“Well, I’ve done, said and done a lot of things that I regret, and I apologize for this and the hurt that has caused so many people,” he said in newspapers that are often difficult. meeting.

“I do not condone human rights abuses. I don’t think so – no one does, in the whole world. I know what happened to Jamal Khashoggi, and I think that is a bad thing.

“I’ve also seen the good things golf has been doing throughout history, and I believe LIV Golf will do a lot of good in the game too. And I’m really proud of this opportunity. That’s why I’m here.”

His appearance at Centurion Club is his first for a golf course in about four months – he missed the Masters this year for the first time in 28 years. The American, however, said he had a “good time” away from the game, just playing with his family.

However, Saudi Arabia’s theme and play-offs were one that Mickelson had to consider during his golf career.

A long pause before answering a question about a sporting event on such a trip indicated that someone could make an informed choice.

Again and again, Mickelson offered the same answer. “I do not condone human rights abuses,” he repeatedly said.

Mickelson speaks at a press conference, sitting next to Justin Harding and Chase Koepka.

The idea of ​​players agreeing to play on the LIV Golf team has come with a lot of questions.

The bottom line is that if their commitment to this new tour affects their visual potential on other golf courses – in particular, the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour.

Recently, the PGA Tour threatened “punishment” for PGA Tour golfers who have participated in the new Saudi-sponsored series.

Two-time winner Dustin Johnson, and former PGA Tour player Kevin Na, have left the PGA Tour to compete in the LIV Golf. That means Johnson will no longer be eligible to win the Ryder Cup, although the US Open announced Wednesday that players could play in the upcoming games.

When asked about his future by the PGA Tour on Wednesday, especially if he was barred from agreeing to take part in the new job, Mickelson – who has enough opportunity on the PGA Tour – refused to confirm or deny, instead opting to keep the cards close to his chest.

“I’m learning lessons,” Mickelson – who said he would play at the US Open this month – said. “I would be speaking on the PGA Tour team, which I have decided not to do at the moment.

“I have enjoyed my time on the PGA Tour and I have a strong idea of ​​what I need to do and what needs to be done best, but I will make sure the discussion is not confined.

“I do not want to quit (my lifelong PGA Tour member). I do not believe I should. I do not know what the future holds, but I do not know what will happen. But I have found the money, and I do not want to give up.”

Mickelson looks forward to LIV Golf.

Although some well-known PGA Tour experts have criticized the idea of ​​players entering the new league, multiple winners Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood have chosen to call themselves “global golfers” and “independent contractors” respectively.

Aside from the big prize pool, one of the reasons Mickelson mentioned in the LIV game is the good relationship between his family and working life.

And even his recent respite, he said, made him realize how much his life could change.

“I’ve played a lot of golf all these years, and when I finally got away from a break, I realized I needed to have a little more practice, and I think, better balance; I have said it many times, “he said.

“I just had to be a little more careful and get away from golf, and that gives me a chance to get golf back in my life but I still do what I want to do, whether it’s walking, wasting time. With the people I care about.

“I went to a couple of league games for my grandchildren. I have never had the opportunity to do that in my entire life. I went to my grandson’s lacrosse game. I have never had the opportunity to do that. It has given me the opportunity, as I say, to be able to excel at golf. ”

Mickelson is looking at a press conference.

The LIV Golf series is a new tour organized by LIV Golf Investments and features eight events around the world, starting in London on Thursday.

Guided by the old world No. 1 Greg Norman, the team’s series will run from June to October with the aim of, “improving the health of golfers around the world to launch the unused game.”

PIF was supposed to provide $ 250 million in total funding. Each of the first seven events will have $ 25million, $ 20m distributed among each player and the remaining $ 5m will be distributed among the top three teams at the end of each week.

Ahead of the first event in London, 12 teams were announced, along with their leader. On Tuesday, the directors selected all their other teams in the same list as the NFL and NBA records.

A great view of golfers on the green pitch at the Centurion Club ahead of the LIV Golf Series.

In contrast to the golf course, the London event lasts three days and not four, with the 48-person club starting and shooting – all at once – hoping to be an exciting, action-packed event.

Competing in a traditional stroke game, the lowest score will be the winner.

In the first two rounds, two winning goals will be scored for each team, in the final round, three winning goals will be scored, and the lowest score for the entire team after 54 holes have been named the winner.

At the final ceremony – team competition – its form is changed to a four-round tournament.


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