Mickelson Refuses To Deny PGA Tour Suspension

Lefty has addressed the media for the first time since his hiatus

Phil Mickelson addresses the media
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson makes his return to professional golf later this week in the LIV Golf Invitational Series curtain raiser at Centurion Club. 

Lefty will tee it up for the first time since February following controversial comments around the PGA Tour and the Saudi Arabian backing of LIV Golf Investments were made public, leading to a four month hiatus from the game.

Speaking ahead of his return, the 51-year-old refused to be drawn into any line of questioning around his relationship with the PGA Tour and whether he has served, or continuing to serve, a suspension.

The six-time Major champion said: "I choose not to converse publicly on PGA Tour points right now." Mickelson added: "I've really enjoyed my time on the PGA Tour. I've had some incredible experiences, some great memories and I have a lot of strong opinions on things that could and should be a lot better. One of the mistakes I've made is voicing those publicly so I will really make an effort to keep those conversations behind closed doors going forward. I think that's the best way." 

Unlike Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia, Mickelson confirmed he has not resigned from the PGA Tour. "I think that they’re making the decision that they believe is best for them professionally and I respect that. As a lifetime member I am not required to play 15 events. I don’t have to play any. I can play one. I don’t see the reason for me to give that up.”

One of the main, and still unknown, contentions around the LIV Golf Series is whether its players remain eligible to play in the Ryder Cup. Mickelson offered his thought process on that possibility and his decision to tee it up in the Series: "Just like the PGA Tour, the Ryder Cup has provided so many special memories, relationships and friendships, I’m hopeful to be part of the Ryder Cup going forward but that’s not the reason to retain my membership. It's because I’ve earned it. I believe all players should have the right to play whenever and wherever they want, which is consistent to being an independent contractor."

The 51-year-old also confirmed that he will tee it up at Brookline in the US Open next week, where victory would see him become the sixth golfer to win the modern day Career Grand Slam. 

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.