Mickelson Hints At Break From Golf Amid Saudi Controversy

The six-time Major winner has hinted at a spell away from the fairways after widespread criticism over his recent comments

Phil Mickelson headshot
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson says he "desperately" needs some time away amid controversy over his recent comments on the PGA Tour and the rumoured Saudi-backed super league.

Lefty issued a statement to say he was "deeply sorry" for his comments, which he said he "sincerely" regretted. His comments appeared in a Fire Pit Collective article by Alan Shipnuck, the author of an upcoming Mickelson biography. Lefty spoke about how he has been involved with LIV Golf Investments, the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund start-up headed by Greg Norman, and the start of a rumoured Saudi-backed breakaway golf league but was only doing so for leverage against the PGA Tour. He also referred to the Saudis as "scary mother*******," after recently accusing the PGA Tour of "obnoxious greed."

It appears that he may step out of the limelight for an unknown period of time, raising question marks over when the reigning PGA Champion will next tee it up on Tour.

 “For the past 31 years I have lived a very public life and I have strived to live up to my own expectations, be the role model the fans deserve, and be someone that inspires others,” Mickelson said in his statement.

“I've worked to compete at the highest level, be available to the media, represent my sponsors with integrity, engage with volunteers and sign every autograph for my incredible fans. 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."

Mickelson has "mutually" split with his long-time sponsor KPMG and said in his statement that he had given all of his sponsors "the option to pause or end the relationship" as he understands "it might be necessary given the current circumstances."

The 51-year-old golfing great has played in every single Masters Tournament since 1995 so we do expect him to return to action then, although he may opt to take a longer period of time away from the game.

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2 HL

Irons: Mizuno MP-H4 3-iron, Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5