The golfing world has been hit with a number of controversies throughout the last fortnight, with talks of the breakaway Saudi Golf League dominating proceedings throughout the majority of 2022.
Phil Mickelson has perhaps been the biggest talking point over that period. Previously, the six-time Major champion accused the PGA Tour of "obnoxious greed" over their media rights, before admitting his allegiance to the reported Saudi Golf League is a ruse to leverage the PGA Tour.
The 51-year-old appeared to be all in on the breakaway Saudi League but, in an excerpt from Alan Shipnuck’s upcoming book, titled ‘Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar’, the six-time major winner made it clear he thinks it's merely an attempt to “sportswash” Saudi Arabia's reputation, and that they are "scary motherf*****s to get involved with.”
Following the release of the excerpt, Mickelson issued a statement to say he was "deeply sorry" about the comments he made to Shipnuck, but also stated that the comments were made "off the record" and "shared out of context and without my consent."
The reaction from Mickelson caused Shipnuck to respond, with the well-known golf sports journalist and author stating that: "The 'off the record' piece of this is completely false" and that “not once in our texts or when we got on the phone did Mickelson request to go off-the-record and I never consented to it; if he had asked.”
Because of the fallout, the six-time Major champion is set to take a break from the game, with 'Lefty' also losing a number of high profile sponsors including KPMG, Amstel Light and Workday in the process. Along with the trio of sponsors, Callaway, who have backed the 51-year-old since 2004, have announced that they will "pause their partnership" with Mickelson.
I’m surprised all these companies are fleeing Phil. Saudi Arabia is certainly toxic but it’s also now part of the Euro and Asian Tours. What were Phil’s crimes? Hardball negotiations, sure. Disloyalty to the Tour? Maybe. Profanity? Who cares. They don’t feel like capital offensesFebruary 26, 2022
For Shipnuck though, it comes as a slight surprise that sponsors are backing away from Mickelson, with the author and journalist tweeting: "I’m surprised all these companies are fleeing Phil. Saudi Arabia is certainly toxic but it’s also now part of the Euro and Asian Tours. What were Phil’s crimes? Hardball negotiations, sure. Disloyalty to the Tour? Maybe. Profanity? Who cares. They don’t feel like capital offenses."
Along with the post on Twitter, Shipnuck also responded to one comment on the thread, revealing: "I knew there was going to be a reaction. I’m surprised at the intensity of it."
Other users didn't seem to agree with Shipnuck's statement though, with one Twitter individual stating: "Once you squeeze the toothpaste you can’t put it back in the tube. Sometimes it’s better not to squeeze so hard," whilst another commented: "You fully understood what you had, stand behind the blowback."
Please stop trying to mitigate the results of you releasing the excepts of your conversation. You fully understood what you had, stand behind the blowback.February 26, 2022
As stated above, companies have pulled the plug on sponsoring the 45-time PGA Tour winner, but multiple Tour players have also publicly stated their stance on Mickelson's comments, with Rory McIlroy calling them "Naive, selfish, egotistical and ignorant."
Along with McIlroy, Justin Thomas branded the comments as "egotistical," with Billy Horschel stating on the Golf Channel podcast that the actions of Mickelson were: “A little bit idiotic to tell you the truth."
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Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.
Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?
Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°
Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°
Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°
Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW
Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°
Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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