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19th Hole

Everything Phil Mickelson said as he is GRILLED by media at first LIV press conference

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Phil Mickelson is sporting a new look this week in the UK, with the 51-year-old appearing in London with an unfamiliar beard ahead of his long awaited comeback.

Another thing unfamiliar about Lefty this week is the lack of sponsors on any of his clothing, as Mickelson spoke before media today with no brands evident on his plain clothing bar his own ‘Jump Man’ logo on his hat as seen on his ‘Coffee For Wellness’ product.

That marks a big difference from the likes of Dustin Johnson, Kevin Na, and Graeme McDowell, who all appeared before the media this week with the majority of their sponsors on show, with DJ wearing Adidas clothing and his typical TaylorMade hat.

Seemingly now sponsorless, Mickelson has been answering some predictably difficult questions on Wednesday morning as he spoke ahead of this week’s LIV Golf Opener.

Here’s a rundown of everything Mickelson said in his first LIV press conference, where he seemed to consider his answers very carefully, taking many pauses throughout the presser:

Mickelson: “Well, I’ve certainly said and done a lot of things that I regret, and I’m sorry for that and the hurt that it’s caused a lot of people. I don’t condone any human rights violations at all, nobody does here, throughout the world. I’m certainly aware of everything that’s happened with Jamal Khashoggi, and I think it’s terrible. I’ve also seen the good the game of golf has done through history, and I believe that LIV Golf is going to do a lot of good for the game as well; and I’m excited about this opportunity, that’s why I’m here.

On Sportswashing

Reporter: But isn’t there a danger that you’re going to be seen as a tool of sportswashing, an attempt to try and improve an image of a human rights abusing regime through sport? And that ultimately, you could be seen as a Saudi stooge, and that could tarnish your legacy. Are you comfortable with that?

Mickelson: I said earlier, I don’t condone human rights violations. I don’t know how I can be any more clear. I understand your question, but again, I love this game of golf, I’ve seen the good it has done, and I see an opportunity for LIV Golf to do a lot of good for the game across the world, and I’m excited to be a part of this opportunity.

*Different reporter*

Reporter: You said something in a Sports Illustrated interview, and you said it again this morning, ‘what happened to Jamal Khashoggi is awful, but I’ve seen the good that the game of golf has done throughout history.’ No matter how successful this tournament could ever be, it can’t counteract someone being murdered, can it?

Mickelson: Nobody here condones human rights violations, and nobody here is trying to make up for anything.

Reporter: But you said those two statements one after the other, which sort of implies that you feel that one can sort of make up for the other, and one of our colleagues used the phrase sportswashing, and that’s surely what that is an attempt to do?

Mickelson: The game of golf I’ve seen unify and bring people together, and I love that I’m a part of this sport and this game has given me so much, and it is fun for me to give back and to bring this game throughout the world on a global scale and have the opportunities that LIV Golf provides. I don’t know how else I can say it, I don’t condone human rights violations. Nobody does. I don’t know how else to say it more assertively.

On Signing With A Group He Was Using As Leverage

Reporter: So you also spoke about leverage, you used the word leverage, and here you are sitting and representing the very people you were using to leverage. How do you explain that?

Mickelson: 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 should and could 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 way to be the most efficient and get the most out of it.

What He’s Apologizing For

Reporter: Can you just clarify, you’ve apologized again just now. Can you just clarify what you’re apologizing for? Is it sorry for speaking the truth about the Saudis, or are you sorry about the shameless hypocrisy of taking their money anyway?

Mickelson: I understand that many people have very strong opinions and may disagree with my decision. And I can empathize with that. But at this time, this is an opportunity that gives me the chance to have the most balance in my life going forward, and I think this is going to do a lot of good for the game.

On If He’s Serving A PGA Tour Ban

Reporter: Can you tell me if you’ve served a ban or are serving a ban with the PGA Tour?

Mickelson: I choose not to speak publicly on PGA Tour issues at this time.

On Next Week’s U.S. Open

Reporter: Can you say if you’re going to play in next week’s U.S. Open?

Mickelson: I will play next week’s U.S. Open. I’m looking forward to it.

On If It’s All About The Money

Reporter: You’re talking about this being good for the game of golf. The general perception is that this is all about the money for the players. Can you give me your thoughts on that?

Mickelson: I don’t necessarily agree with your premise, but I think that the opportunity that it provides me to play, compete, bring the sport throughout the world, play less, and have a better balance in life on and off the golf course. I know that it gives me a lot of positives personally and professionally, and I believe it does the same for everyone else in the field.

On The Public Criticism From His Peers

Reporter: How did you feel when colleagues of yours criticized you so publicly, given that you knew them?

Mickelson: I understand how many people are going to have very strong opinions on this, my peers included. I respect their opinions. I can empathize with their feelings, and I’m appreciative to the many peers who have reached out to me and shown their support.

On Why He Won’t Be Resigning His PGA Tour Membership

Mickelson: I have been a part of the Tour for over 30 years. I’ve had a lot of incredible memories that have been formed and experiences I’ve shared. Tournaments I’ve won, and lost.

I also received a lot from the PGA Tour. I’m very grateful for that, for everything the PGA Tour and the game of golf has provided for me and my family.

I’ve also worked really hard to contribute and try to build and add value to the Tour during my time there.

I worked really hard to earn a lifetime exemption, and I don’t want to give that up; I don’t believe I should have to. I don’t know what that means for the future, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’ve earned that, and I don’t plan on just giving it up.”

On If He Won’t Resign So He Is Still Eligible For The Ryder Cup

Mickelson: Like the PGA Tour, the Ryder has provided so many special memories, relationships and friendships. I’m hopeful to be a part of the Ryder Cup going forward, but that’s not the reason to retain my membership, 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.

On His Four Month Hiatus

Reporter: It was said by one of your colleagues (Bryson) that you’ve gone dark, whatever that means, but what have you done for the last four months, because nobody has seen you?

Mickelson: I’ve had an awesome time. I’ve had a four-month break from the game that I’ve not had in over three decades. I’ve had an opportunity to spend time with my wife Amya bunch and travel parts of the world and spend time at a place we have in Montana.. skiing and hiking in Sedona, what a beautiful place that is.

It’s given me time to continue some of the work and therapy that I’ve been working on, on some areas I’m deficient in, in my life.

It’s given me time to reflect on what I want to do going forward, what’s best for me, what’s best for the people I care about. This allows me to be more present and engaged with people I care about.

That is why, when I think about being a part of LIV Golf, I feel so good about it.

On His Reported $200 million Sign-On Fee

Mickelson: I feel like contract agreements should be private. But it doesn’t seemed to be that way.

On Missing the Masters and PGA Championship

Mickelson: I was under the understanding that I was able to play but I really needed some time away. I did watch them but I didn’t necessarily want to be there. I wasn’t in a position to be there and be able to compete.

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Gianni is the Managing Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at [email protected].

19th Hole

‘How is this free?’ – Phil Mickelson provides short game instruction video that every golfer should watch

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On Thursday, Phil Mickelson took to social media to share a tip with amateur golfers.

In the video, he talks about “hand speed, not club head speed”.

He then explains that when chipping, we want “hand speed”, unlike a shot with a driver, when club head speed is more important.

“We don’t want the club accelerating and having the ball jump off the face”

The video is certainly worth watching and any time you can get advice from one of the most creative shot makers in the history of the game, it makes sense to listen!

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19th Hole

The total sum that Sergio Garcia needs to pay in fines if he wants to return to DP World Tour revealed

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While speaking with Rick Shiels in a video that was recorded in November but aired in February, Sergio Garcia surprisingly revealed that he intended on getting his DP World Tour card back so he could play in another Ryder Cup. In order for the Spaniard to remain a member, he’d have to play in a minimum of four DP World Tour events per season.

“I am going to be a member again of the European Tour,” he said. “I always said that I wanted to, when I joined LIV, keep being a member of the DP World Tour. Obviously, they didn’t make it too easy to be able to do that, I want to give myself the best possibility of playing the Ryder Cup.

“Only playing a handful of events, it is not easy to make it unless you do super well. But I guess at the end of the day if I am eligible, they see I am making the effort and I do well with LIV and I am consistent then at least hopefully I can be considered, not only because of my game but what I can bring to the team, and my history in the event.”

However, it appears Garcia did not apply to play on the DP World Tour and has missed the deadline to do so. While speaking with James Corrigan of The Telegraph, DP World Tour officials are skeptical of Garcia’s efforts.

“Sergio is either in denial or he is completely oblivious to the hurdles he must clear to become a member again.”

Corrigan added that “Officials at Wentworth headquarters were baffled by Garcia’s comments”.

Another major problem for Sergio is the fact that he owes about $1 million in fines to the DP World Tour.

The source told Corrigan:

“Sergio’s statement was bizarre, seeing as he resigned when refusing to pay the first fine,” a source said. “He is probably hoping a deal is worked out in the current negotiations with PIF [the Saudi sovereign wealth fund], and there is an amnesty and a clear pathway back.

“But there is a strong feeling among the tour’s rank and file that the fines will have to be honoured first – and Sergio has only so far offered to pay if he could be considered for the Ryder Cup.

“Let’s just say that as of now his plan is unlikely and there is a stipulation that the regulations for 2024 stipulate that applications for membership can be rejected for any reason whatsoever.”

Clearly, despite Garcia’s words in the Rick Shiels interview, the all-time leading scorer in European Ryder Cup history’s priorities remain elsewhere.

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19th Hole

Tour pro calls Anthony Kim a ‘f*****g idiot’ following Instagram comeback post

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In what’s become a staple of his social media game over the past few seasons, DP World Tour player Eddie Pepperell took to X to call a few LIV golfers “f*****g idiots.”

The Englishman was referring to Talor Gooch’s comments regarding a Rory McIlroy potential Masters victory having an asterisk due to certain LIV players not being in the field.

“If Rory McIlroy completes his Grand Slam without some of the best players in the world, there’s just going to be an asterisk,” Gooch said to Australian Golf Digest.

In terms of Pepperell’s “haters” comment, he was referring to Anthony Kim’s Instagram post, where at the end AK says, “Hello Haters. I’m Back”.

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