‘Mickelson Deserves Forgiveness’ – Rory McIlroy

The Northern Irishman thinks Lefty should be welcomed back whenever he returns to the game

Rory McIlroy speaks to the press ahead of the Arnold Palmer Invitational
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy has said he hopes that Phil Mickelson is welcomed back to the game whenever he chooses to end his self-enforced break. Mickelson has courted enormous controversy in recent weeks with comments related to the Saudi Super League, including accusing the PGA Tour of "obnoxious greed".

Last week that all came to a head when the 51-year-old released a statement apologising for his comments and announcing he was taking a break from the game. The following days saw a wave of criticism head Mickelson’s way while he also lost some of his sponsors. However, speaking at this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, Mcilroy explained why Mickelson deserves forgiveness on his return.

“This whole situation is unfortunate. Phil will be back. He has done such a wonderful job for the game of golf and he has represented the game of golf very well for the entirety of his career. We all make mistakes and we all say things we want to take back. We should be allowed to make mistakes and ask for forgiveness.”

McIlroy isn’t the only golf figure prepared to stand up for Mickelson. Two-time Major winner Tony Jacklin also defended him in the aftermath of last week’s statement. However, Mickelson’s supporters have been few and far between over recent days. Nevertheless, McIlroy’s comments, in particular, may be a sign that the tide could eventually turn back in Mickelson’s favour. 

Despite the uncertainty over Mickelson's immediate future in the game, with no tournament announced for a comeback, McIlroy is convinced that he will be back at some point. He said: “Hopefully he comes back at some stage – he will – and people will welcome him back and be glad he is back.”

Mike Hall
News Writer

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.