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What is going on with Phil Mickelson?

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Phil Mickelson greets spectators as he walks onto the 16th tee in the first round of play at the Northern Trust golf tournament.

Phil Mickelson greets spectators as he walks onto the 16th tee in the first round of play at the Northern Trust golf tournament, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, at Liberty National Golf Course in Jersey City, N.J. Mickelson has apologized for recent comments he made about Saudi Arabia and the PGA Tour.

John Minchillo, Associated Press

Phil Mickelson is in the deep stuff this week, but the reasons have nothing to do with his actual play on the golf course.

Here’s a rundown of what has been happening with the six-time PGA Tour major winner.

  • Last week, biographer Alan Shipnuck, who has a book about Mickelson slated to be released on May 17, published an excerpt from the book in which he detailed a conversation he had with Mickelson about the Saudi-backed Super Golf League, which is aiming to rival the PGA Tour in legitimacy.
  • Mickelson called the Saudis “scary” to get involved with and said “we know” they killed Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi and they have a “horrible record” on human rights. All of that being said, Mickelson said, “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.”
  • The comments caught the ire of a wide range of people, and on Tuesday, Mickelson released a statement via Twitter to address the issue.
  • He said his comments were “off record” and “shared out of context and without my consent (Shipnuck has denied this),” but, he wrote, “Golf desperately needs change, and real change is always preceded by disruption.”
  • To the people of LIV Golf, who are the major backers of the Saudi tour, Mickelson wrote, “My experience with LIV Golf Investments has been very positive. I apologize for anything I said that was taken out of context.”
  • Mickelson closed by writing, “I have experienced many successful and rewarding moments that I will always cherish, but I have often failed myself and others too. The past 10 years I have felt the pressure and stress slowly affecting me at a deeper level. I know I have not been my best and desperately need some time away to prioritize the ones I love most and work on being the man I want to be.”

  • After the apology was released, Mickelson and KPMG, which has been his main sponsor for many years, severed ties.