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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]

16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Ed Bardoe

    Jun 9, 2022 at 7:50 pm

    Chamblee’s money comes from the Chinese (all golf companies that advertise on golf channel make all their clubs in China) Perhaps he is upset that the Saudis commuted the death penalties for the 5 agents who killed Khashoggi to 20 years. If Salmon is responsible for Khashoggi then isn’t the Mayor of Minneapolis responsible for Floyd? Or maybe he is just pro death penalty.

  2. Jbone

    Jun 9, 2022 at 11:07 am

    These reporters are in lala land. The PGA Tour is completely about money, not “legacy”. The media has such a selection bias for what they report or won’t report on.

    The majors are the only tournaments that matter when it comes to “legacy”.

    Hopefully this is good for pro golf in the long run and Saudi doesn’t hold the reins for too long. Pro golf needed a change. Heck even the PGA Championship needs to go back to match play or something.

  3. PJ

    Jun 8, 2022 at 10:40 pm

    I cannot condone what the Saudis do to people and if they didn’t have oil and boat loads of cash they probably wouldn’t get away with it. With that said I find it odd, but not really, that so many people have a problem with a Saudi backed league but say NOTHING about tournaments in China, Nike and their piles of cash derived from sweat shops and cheap labor to make their goods, and the fact that China is the biggest violator of human rights aside from Germany in WW2. No one says a word. Sad and pathetic.

    Phil or anyone else playing in LIV doesn’t affect you, me, or anyone else. I say good luck, go make some cash, and do your thing. They are independent contractors and they are free to play for the highest bidder.

  4. Don

    Jun 8, 2022 at 4:56 pm

    To think the Saudi’s will change their stripes is just as stupid as American companies investing in China will create a desire for the Chinese to be more “Americanized”.

  5. Bobby

    Jun 8, 2022 at 3:51 pm

    I am glad to see the PGA get a little competition, interesting to see how it plays out.

    • roger

      Jun 9, 2022 at 10:25 pm

      Why, what would a little competition mean to you. Should the PGA tour start having 20-30 million tournaments. 1.5 million 1st place isn’t nearly enough, should it be 3 or 4 million for 4 days work. The answer to all of this is on the fans back, it would follow professional football, baseball and other sports where it would cost $200 a day or more for any tournament that you wanted to go to. This is battles for millions that the fans will pay for.

  6. Drj

    Jun 8, 2022 at 1:43 pm

    ‘You can’t do this- you can’t do that’

    Yes- yes they can… This is what happens when ultimatums don’t go your way JM. You were very vocal then- where are your statements now?

  7. Dave

    Jun 8, 2022 at 12:47 pm

    It is greed, pure selfish greed and nothing else. I hope Westwood and Poulter get booed at the Open. Whilst people in this Country are struggling Poulter just wants a few more Feraris.

    • Bob

      Jun 8, 2022 at 2:31 pm

      Deport him. He’s a tax dodging parasite who chases paper. Go live in Switzerland and take your Italian garbagemobiles with you.

    • Tom Kay

      Jun 8, 2022 at 4:23 pm

      Poulter should be forced to give me one of his Ferraris and an international supermodel to ride with me.

  8. Imafitter

    Jun 8, 2022 at 12:07 pm

    Glad Reed is going. Most of these guys are chasing the $$$$$, they’re getting older and are not relevant.

  9. Eric Montgomery

    Jun 8, 2022 at 10:50 am

    Pretty sad when those we admire and applaud in the end turn out to be frauds and liars.
    Unable to keep their word or maintain any semblance of integrity or character, they whore themselves out for the almighty dollar.
    Pitiful men, to say the least.

  10. BD57

    Jun 8, 2022 at 9:39 am

    Meanwhile, the high & mighty, “we’re all concerned about human rights” media gives the Chinese a pass, says not a word to the NBA (or other entertainment companies, for that matter) about prostrating itself to stay in their good graces.

    Let’s just say the media’s “principles” are very . . . . flexible.

  11. Pingback: ‘This is uncomfortable’ – LIV press conference gets heated with reporter ejected – GolfWRX

  12. Pingback: Report: Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed agree multi-year deals with LIV Golf – GolfWRX

  13. Pingback: Why Mickelson could be in for a very awkward surprise at this week’s LIV Golf opener – GolfWRX

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19th Hole

The hilarious reason why Kevin Kisner asked to sit the afternoon at the 2017 Presidents Cup

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Golf is changing, as always.

While the best of the team events – the Ryder and Presidents Cup – give rookies the chance to shine, both events often rely on the experienced players to steady the ship through the early stages.

This week’s Presidents Cup is the 12th run-out of the U.S v International match-up, and the first since 2019.

The 2021 event was, of course, cancelled because of Covid and the teams look very different to how they may have looked a year ago, mainly because of the ineligibility of any players that have chosen the LIV path for their recent careers.

Played at Quail Hollow this season, the teams are a mix of the plainly obvious and those with zero experience, with 14 of the 24 players making their debuts in the event, including world number one Scottie Scheffler and Max Homa, winner of the 2019 Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s often best to turn to the older members for the stories, and 38-year-old Kevin Kisner has never been short of a tale or two.

With an enviable record at the World Matchplay – one win and two finals appearances in six starts – Kiz appears the type to thrive at all aspects of the team challenge. However, back on his 2017 Presidents Cup debut, he wanted to be left off the roster for day three.

His event started brightly for the rookie, when playing alongside Phil Mickelson, a Thursday half in the foursomes followed by a win in the following day’s fourballs.

Day three again started well for the pairing, beating Jhonattan Vegas and Emiliano Grillo 2&1 and taking their record to 2-1-0, before that strange request.

Golf writer Brentley Romine posted a tweet on Thursday revealing that Kisner approached the then U.S captain Steve Stricker and asked for Saturday afternoon off, because:

“Because Georgia played Tennessee. Strick is like. ‘Seriously?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, man, that’s my squad.'”

This is not the first time that golf took a back-seat to a Bulldog game.

In the same year, while competing at the Tour Championship, Kisner took to social media to arrange a flight to a Georgia-Mississippi game, eventually finishing tied third at the lucrative season finale.

The mid-event break clearly does him good as he also profited at Liberty National, halving his Sunday singles game with Anirban Lahiri and keeping intact an undefeated record as his team thrashed the Internationals 19-11.

Kisner didn’t take part in the opening day of this year’s Presidents Cup and there is no knowing whether he will play when Davis Love requires him to. Better check the football schedule first.

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19th Hole

‘It’s a slap in the face’ – Patrick Reed hits out at DP World Tour over treatment at latest events

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This week, Patrick Reed is playing in the Cazoo Open De France at Le Golf National. The course is where the 2018 Ryder Cup was held. The European Team won the trophy, and Reed was only able to muster one point in three matches.

This week however, Patrick Reed was the betting favorite entering play. Despite being somewhat of a regular on the DP World Tour, Reed feels as though the treatment he’s received this week has been “a slap in the face”.

Reed is by far the biggest name in the field, but wasn’t asked to play in the pro-am or conduct a pre-tournament press conference. Of course, this treatment is a result of the 33 year old’s decision to join LIV Golf.

According to The Telegraph, Reed told Journal du Golf: “It’s a slap in the face not to invite me to do a press conference here, or as happened in Wentworth, not to have me play the pro-am and all those things. At the end of the day, it’s just my golf that I have control over. I’m here to support the Tour, France and all the people who are here.”

“But I don’t see why we can’t move from the LIV to the European Tour like we usually move from the PGA Tour to the European Tour. A lot of players understand and support my choice and have nothing against me. I didn’t feel any animosity against me from them.”

While there have been some players who have publicly stated they have no issues with the players who’ve chosen to go to LIV, there have also been a number of players who have done the opposite.

LIV golfers are currently able to participate on the DP World Tour due to a temporary court order until it is resolved legally. A decision on their eligibility going forward is expected to be given in February.

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19th Hole

Congress members blast ‘pimp’ Greg Norman in meeting at Capitol Hill

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On Wednesday, LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman met with members of congress to discuss LIV’s current dispute with the PGA TOUR.

It didn’t go very well.

According to multiple sources, Republican Tim Burchett of Tennessee walked out of the meeting due to an inability to understand Norman due to his accent as well as the “propaganda” he felt Norman was sharing.

Burchett later sent a tweet himself about the meeting with “The Shark”.

Burchett wasn’t the only member of congress to give Norman a hard time.. Chip Roy of Texas said to reporters of the meeting: “Don’t come in here and act like you’re doing some great thing, while you’re pimping a billion dollars of Saudi Arabian money,”

It’s unclear whether or not any of the lawmakers gave Norman the reception he was looking for, but he did later thank them for meeting with him via an Instagram post.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Greg Norman (@shark_gregnorman)

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