HEMEL HEMPSTEAD, UK – Phil Mickelsonmaking his first public appearance since February, neither confirming nor denying that he has been suspended or banned by the PGA Tour for participating in a rival’s LIV Golf tournament.
“I choose not to speak publicly on PGA Tour matters at this time,” Mickelson said Wednesday morning.
Mickelson has stressed multiple times that he regrets the recent controversial comments that led to his decision to take a break from golf, including last month’s decision not to defend his PGA championship.
“I said and did a lot of things that I regret,” Mickelson said. “I’m sorry for that and sorry for the hurt it has caused so many people.”
Mickelson is part of a 48-man course for the emerging LIV Golf tournament that will host its first event starting on Thursday at Centurion Club outside London. Also among these areas Kevin Na and Dustin JohnsonOne of the golfers announced this past week that they would be giving up their PGA Tour membership.
Sources previously told ESPN’s Mark Schlabach that PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan told player agents at the Memorial last week in Dublin, Ohio, that players had to choose whether they would play on the PGA Tour or not. in the LIV Golf series and that they can’t play both. Monahan has threatened players who have competed in London without being released with disciplinary action, including fines, suspension and/or ban.
Mickelson responded to questions from reporters for nearly 30 minutes but declined repeatedly to talk specifically about comments he made to journalist Alan Shipnuck that were published in February, in which he says the owner of LIV Golf is “the scary mom — ers joins with.”
LIV Golf is supported by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, which is controlled by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Salman has been accused of numerous human rights abuses, including the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
“I do not tolerate human rights abuses,” Mickelson said. “Nobody here does that, around the world. I certainly know what happened to Jamal Khashoggi, and I think it’s terrible. I’ve also seen the good things that golf has done in the past. throughout history and I believe LIV Golf will also be of great help to the game. I’m very excited about this opportunity and that’s why I’m here.”
Mickelson chose his words carefully throughout the press conference, pausing several times when he appeared to consider how to tackle a topic before opening his mouth. He tells a few jokes and sips his personally-branded therapeutic coffee from a small mug bearing his personal logo, but mostly he looks sullen as he broods. his answer.
He said that during the four months he was away from the golf course, he traveled with his family, spent time in therapy and watched golf on TV.
“I took a four-month break from playing the game that I haven’t had in over three decades,” Mickelson said. “I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with my wife, Amy, and spend time traveling around the world, spending time at a site we have in Montana for skiing and hiking in Sedona It’s been time for me to continue some work and therapy in areas where I’m lacking in life It’s time for me to reflect on what I want to do in the future and what what’s best for me and what’s best for the people I care about.”
Mickelson confirmed that he is trying to address certain behaviors – specifically excessive gambling – that he feels are negatively affecting his personal life.
“I’ve been dealing with it for years now,” Mickelson said. “Me and my family, we’ve been financially secure – I can’t even remember how long. But it’s certainly threatened if I don’t deal with this. And I did. do.”
Mickelson said he hasn’t stepped down as a PGA Tour member and has no plans to do so, but he’s unsure what his future with the PGA Tour might hold.
“I got a lot out of the PGA Tour, and I got a lot,” Mickelson said. “I’ve worked really hard to contribute and add value to the tour during my time there. I’ve worked really hard to get the lifetime exemption, I don’t want to give up on that and I do. I don’t feel like I should.
“I don’t know what that means for the future. I don’t know what’s going to happen. But I’ve earned it and I have no intention of giving it up.”
Although he has previously hinted that he is using LIV Golf as “leverage” to push for some changes on the PGA Tour, Mickelson declined to say what changes he is still interested in.
“I have a lot of strong opinions about things that should and could be a lot better,” Mickelson said. “One of the mistakes I’ve made was speaking out about those things publicly. So I’m really going to work hard to keep those conversations going through closed doors in the future. think that’s the most efficient way and make the most of it.”
Mickelson said he plans to compete at the US Open next week at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, and feels better about his game now than he did months ago.
“I took a four-month break from gaming that I hadn’t had in over three decades. I had the opportunity to spend time with my wife, Amy, and to spend time traveling around the world. time at a site we have in Montana, skiing and hiking in Sedona It was time for me to continue some work and therapy in areas where I was lacking in life. It’s time for me to think about what I want to do moving forward and what’s best for me and what’s best for the people I care about.”
Phil Mickelson, in 2022 to take a break from golf
He said he felt – based on conversations with the organizers – he would be welcome at the Masters Championship or the PGA. But he doesn’t feel like his game is near sharp enough to be competitive.
“Every day of the Masters, I ski in the morning and then I watch the tournament,” Mickelson said. “I enjoyed watching it. I thought Scottie Scheffler put on a great performance there. I found myself missing the Masters but didn’t want to be there. I didn’t play. I have not touched a club. I am not in a position to compete. But I will always love that tournament, and if I am not there, I will always miss it, but I have no desire to be there. “
He said he feels similar about the PGA Championship at Southern Hills. Mickelson is the first major champion in modern history to decide not to defend his title by selection, not because of injury.
“I’ve made it clear to myself through extensive conversations that I can play if I want to,” Mickelson said. “I just chose not to.”
Near the end of the press conference, Mickelson couldn’t help but smile a little when asked if he really received $200 million from LIV Golf to participate in the startup tournament.
“I feel that contractual arrangements should be private,” Mickelson said. “It doesn’t seem like it, but it should be.”