‘I Don’t See A Hell Of A Lot Wrong With It’ – Jacklin Defends Mickelson

Tony Jacklin has sprung to Phil Mickelson's defence following his recent PGA Tour outburst

Phil Mickelson Tony Jacklin
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson released a statement apologising for recent comments regarding the PGA Tour and a rumoured Saudi Super League. The six-time Major champion accused the PGA Tour of “obnoxious greed” over its stance on media rights and caused even more controversy when an excerpt from an upcoming book, ‘Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar' by Alan Shipnuck, quoted Mickelson admitting his allegiance to the reported Saudi Super League was a ruse to leverage the PGA Tour. In a lengthy statement, Mickelson described his comments as “reckless” and has said he is “deeply sorry” for them.

Whilst Mickelson has faced a barrage of criticism online and from his professional peers, Tony Jacklin has sprung to his defence. Jacklin, who spoke to Golf Monthly in association with BoyleSports golf betting, said, “if he was genuinely trying to get the PGA Tour off its backside to do more for the players than they have been doing, and found a way to do it, leverage as he calls it, then if that’s what it was, I don’t see a hell of a lot wrong with it.”

The Englishman added, “they’ve already come up with umpteen more millions of dollars so what he was doing was catching their attention.” The PGA Tour recently announced the overall fund of the Player Impact Program (PIP), which rewards players for increasing fan and sponsor engagement, has increased from $40 million to $50 million. It further introduced the Play-15 scheme, where any member who competes in at least 15 tournaments receives a $50,000 performance bonus.

Many have accused the rumoured Saudi-backed Super League as an attempt to sportwash the regimes within the country. Jacklin said, “You can take this holy than thou attitude of ‘oh it’s a sportswash’ and this that and the other. There’s lots going on at the DP World Tour. Isn’t that Arab money? Isn’t that coming from Dubai? You can’t scrutinise where every buck, pound or euro comes from.”

Jacklin further stated that, “they [Greg Norman and Phil Mickelson] went into this thing being prepared for pot shots taken at them and you know, part of me sympathises with them for that. The most important thing is that we’ve got to let it play out.” He added, “I’m just waiting for it to get more further along. From what I gather, at the Players Championship, something else will unfold and we’ll get to hear a bit more.”

Phil Mickelson has said he will take a sabbatical from the game of golf to "work on the man" he wants to be. It remains to be seen when he will compete on the PGA Tour again.

James Hibbitt

James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.