Phil Mickelson, a world-famous professional golfer, has won 45 events on the PGA Tour. Mickelson’s accomplishments include six major championships, three Masters titles, two PGA Championships, and one Open Championship.
This past Monday, Mickelson attended the U.S. Open press conference at The Country Club in Massachusetts and made surprising comments about his recent move to LIV Golf. The 51-year-old golf star reportedly signed a contract with LIV Golf earlier this month that is worth around $200 million, an extremely controversial decision that has left people stunned.
The Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series finally teed off on June 9 in England. They had a star-studded field, but no global media rights deals and confusion from golf fans across the world. In May, LIV Golf announced a $2 billion investment from Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund. This money would go towards funding the ongoing expansion of LIV and prize money. Mickelson is guaranteed around $200 million of that money. Dustin Johnson has reportedly signed a deal worth at least $125 million. That is more than Tiger Woods’ career Tour earnings ($120 million).
LIV is paying these players a lot of money, but, the public is disappointed in their participation in LIV-sponsored events. The main concern is that LIV Golf is sports washing, or using sports to cover up Saudi Arabia’s appalling human rights record.
Mickelson seemed to disregard these facts at the press conference. He confidently stated that he believes LIV Golf is transformative and is good for the golf community.
Letter from Terry Strada
At the press conference, Mickelson was asked about a letter he received from Terry Strada whose husband was killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Strada is the national chair of the 9/11 Families United coalition. “Given Saudi Arabia’s role in the death of our loved ones and those injured on 9/11 — your fellow Americans — we are angered that you are so willing to help the Saudis cover up this history in their request for ‘respectability,'” Strada said. “When you partner with the Saudis, you become complicit with their whitewash, and help give them the reputational cover they so desperately crave — and are willing to pay handsomely to manufacture.”
Mickelson said he will play in the remaining seven LIV tournaments this year and the 150th Open Championship at St. Andrews in Scotland.