Sports

Phil Mickelson will not discuss ‘PGA Tour issues’ as LIV approaches

HEMEL HEMPSTEAD, England – Phil Mickelson, appearing for the first time in public since February, could not confirm or deny that he has been suspended or banned by the PGA Tour for taking part in the LIV Golf competition.

“I have decided not to speak publicly about the PGA Tour for now,” Mickelson said Wednesday morning.

Mickelson has repeatedly emphasized that he has apologized for the recent controversy that led to his decision to play golf, including his decision not to defend his PGA competition last month.

“I have said and done many things that I regret.” – Mickelson. “Sorry for this and sorry for hurting so many people.”

Mickelson is one of 48 people who will be taking part in the LIV Golf League which will be his first event from Thursday at Centurion Club outside London. Some of those players are Kevin Na and Dustin Johnson, who were among a number of golfers who announced last week that they were leaving their PGA Tour membership.

Sources told ESPN’s Mark Schlabach that PGA Tour chief Jay Monahan told the players ‘assistants at the last Memorial in Dublin, Ohio, that players had to decide if they wanted to play on the PGA Tour or LIV Golf series and that they couldn’t’. t play in everything. Monahan threatened players who competed in London without being released on penalties, including fines, suspensions and / or bans.

Mickelson responded to questions from the media for about 30 minutes but repeatedly refused to comment further on his remarks to journalist Alan Shipnuck which were published in February when he said the owners of LIV Golf were “dangerous women — who wanted to participate. And.”

LIV Golf is sponsored by the Saudi Investment Fund Fund of Saudi Arabia, run by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Salman is accused of human rights abuses, including the assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

“I do not condone human rights abuses,” Mickelson said. “Nobody does that, all over the world. I really know what happened to Jamal Khashoggi, and I think it ‘s horrible. so I have come. “

Mickelson chose his words carefully at a press conference, pausing several times as he appeared to be trying to figure out how to answer the headline before opening his mouth. He made a few jokes and drank his natural coffee from a tumbler with his logo, but mostly he looked upset when he responded.

He said that in the four months he left golfing to travel with his family, he would spend his medical time watching golf on television.

“I’ve had a four-month break from a game I haven’t had in over 30 years,” Mickelson said. “I have had the opportunity to spend time with my wife Amy, and to spend time traveling to other parts of the world, spending our time in Montana skiing and mountaineering in Sedona. Work and support in areas I need most in my life. I want to do the future and what is best for me and what is best for the people I care about. “

Mickelson made it clear that he was trying to seduce some of his activities – especially his gambling – which he saw as a threat to his health.

“I’ve been holding it for years now,” Mickelson said. “My family and I, we have been financially secure – I do not remember for how long. But it will certainly be threatened if I do not end this. And I did.”

Mickelson said he has not stopped being a member of the PGA Tour and has no such thoughts, but is not sure what his future holds with the PGA Tour.

“I have benefited a lot from the PGA Tour, and I have received a lot,” Mickelson said. “I have worked very hard to help and add value to my journey during my time there.

“I do not know what this will mean in the future. I do not know what will happen. But I have found that, and I am not prepared to give up.”

Although he also said he was using LIV Golf as a “facilitator” to make some changes on the PGA Tour, Mickelson declined to comment on any changes he still had.

“I have a strong opinion on what should be best,” Mickelson said. “One of the mistakes I have made is to speak openly. So I will definitely try to keep the discussion going. I think it is the best and most rewarding way.”

Mickelson said he wants to play in the US Open next week at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, and feels better about his game here than he has in months.

“I have had four months to spare for the game and for more than 30 years. At our location in Montana skiing and hiking in Sedona. It has given me time to continue to do other work and support in areas where I am lacking in my life. It has given me time to reflect on what I want ahead and what is best for me and what is best for the people I care about. ”

Phil Mickelson, on his 2022 tour from golf

He added that hearing – based on discussions with the developers – would have been welcomed at the Masters or PGA Championship. But he didn’t feel like his game was about to be sharp enough to compete.

“Every day at Masters, I would swim in the morning and watch the game,” Mickelson said. “I loved watching. I thought Scottie Scheffler did very well there. I found myself missing Masters but I did not want to be. I did not play. I did not play club. I could not do anything. Be a competitor. to have with them. “

He said he also felt the same way with the PGA Championship in Southern Hills. Mickelson was the first major leader in modern history to defend his head by choice, not by injury.

“It made me feel good about discussing as much as I could play if I wanted to,” Mickelson said. “I just decided not to.”

Towards the end of a press conference, Mickelson could not resist a slight smile when asked if he was indeed receiving $ 200 million from LIV Golf for his participation in the opening league.

“I feel that contractual agreements should be kept secret,” Mickelson said. “It doesn’t seem to be the case, but it should be.”

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