Why Is Phil Mickelson Losing His Sponsors?

So far KPMG, Heineken/Amstel Light and Workday have dropped ties with the six-time Major champion

Mickelson misses a putt
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Over the past week, a number of sponsors have taken the decision to drop Phil Mickelson, with the fall-out coming after the six-time Major champion made controversial comments about the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia.

In an excerpt from Alan Shipnuck’s upcoming book (opens in new tab), titled ‘Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar’, the 51-year-old made it clear he thinks it's merely an attempt to “sportswash” Saudi Arabia's reputation (opens in new tab), and that they are "scary motherf*****s to get involved with.”

Mickelson and Norman talk

Mickelson and Greg Norman, CEO of Liv Golf Investments, chat during a practice round prior to the 2022 PIF Saudi International

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Following the comments made by Mickelson, the six-time Major champion released a lengthy statement (opens in new tab) in which he apologised for his actions, stating he is "deeply sorry for them."

“Although it doesn’t look this way now given my recent comments, my actions throughout this process have always been with the best interest of golf, my peers, sponsors, and fans," said the American.

"There is the problem of off record comments being shared out of context and without my consent, but the bigger issue is that I used words I sincerely regret that do not reflect my true feelings or intentions. It was reckless, I offended people, and I am deeply sorry for my choice of words. I’m beyond disappointed and will make every effort to self-reflect and learn from this."

Although the 51-year-old did apologise, many players and pundits didn't really seem to accept it, with one of the most recognisable voices in golf, Ewen Murray, tweeting (opens in new tab): "Having watched Phil Mickelson for 30 years, admired his undoubted talent, and marvelled at his excellence, his sheer brilliance and his outstanding short game, how on earth can it come to this?. So terribly sad, so desperately unnecessary, so stupid."

2002 PGA Championship winner, Rich Beem, also called Mickelson's statement: "Not a true apology," (opens in new tab) and that "not once did he ever apologise to the PGA Tour and come out and support them."

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Which Sponsors Have Dropped Mickelson?

As well as players and pundits making their voices heard, Mickelson's sponsors also showed their stance on the matter, with three of Lefty's biggest endorsers pulling the plug on his sponsorship. 

Mickelson had stated 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." However, the option didn't seem to work, with KPMG being the first to "mutually" part ways with the 51-year-old (opens in new tab)

Having sponsored the six-time Major winner since 2008, Mickelson had worn the company's logo on his cap and visor all the way up until early 2022. However, in a statement from the accounting organisation, KPMG announced that: "KPMG U.S. and Phil Mickelson have mutually agreed to end our sponsorship effective immediately. We wish him the best."

Heineken/Amstel Light were the next to follow, with a spokesperson from Heineken, the parent company of Amstel Light, announcing that: “We made the decision to go our separate ways and end Amstel Light’s partnership with Phil Mickelson.”

Mickelson waves

Mickelson was last seen at the 2022 Saudi International.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Not long after, Workday released a statement (opens in new tab), saying: "At this time, Workday and Phil Mickelson have mutually and amicably agreed to not renew our brand sponsorship that ends this March. 

"We want to thank Phil for his great contributions as a Workday ambassador, both on and off the course. And we continue to wish him and his family all the best."

With Mickelson's endorsements being worth an estimated $40 million between 2019-2020, according to Forbes, one big question was, 'what were Callaway going to do?' With the club manufacturer the 51-year-olds longest serving sponsor.

Well, for Mickelson, the brand, which has supported him since 2004, "agreed to pause their partnership" (opens in new tab), with Callaway "re-evaluating their ongoing relationship at a later date.”

The brand also stated that: "Callaway does not condone Phil Mickelson’s comments and we were very disappointed in his choice of words – they in no way reflect our values or what we stand for as a company. Phil has since apologized and we know he regrets how he handled recent events. We recognize his desire to take some time away from the game and respect that decision."

Mickelson bag

Mickelson has won all six of his Major championships with Callaway clubs

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Since Callaway's announcement, it is believed that Lefty will also no longer serve as host of The American Express (opens in new tab), with the PGA Tour stating to The Desert Sun (opens in new tab) that, in addition to Mickelson not returning as host in January 2023, the Mickelson Foundation will also no longer be part of the event either.

Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.