CultureFriday 03.04.22

Phil Mickelson Was Oh So Close To Standing up for Human Rights

Want to show your appreciation for The Recount's coverage?
Tip us!Tip us!

Phil Mickelson's involvement with a Saudi-backed golf league to rival the PGA may have hastened the end of his career.

The two-time PGA Championships winner — who has been at odds with the PGA for years because he thinks it withholds money from players — was reportedly offered $100 million to play in the alternate league’s tournaments and recruit other stars to it.

But the golfer laid bare his thoughts to Alan Shipnuck — an author writing Mickelson’s unauthorized biography — when describing his business partners as “scary motherfuckers to get involved with. We know they killed Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights. They execute people over there for being gay. Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shape how the PGA Tour operates. And the Saudi money has finally given us that leverage.”

In other words, Mickelson isn’t blind to Saudi Arabia’s horrible record on human rights. He was just willing to look the other way (while still talking loudly about it).

Since then, star players have disavowed Saudi Arabia’s Super Golf League, probably stopping it in its tracks. Mickelson, who has been dropped by sponsors, issued a lengthy apology, and said that the comments were off-the-record and taken out of context (Shipnuck denies this). He’s retreated from public view, and he also likely faces a long suspension from the PGA.

LZ and Will talk about the controversy, and how Phil Mickelson would have been much better off simply denouncing the Saudi-financed Super Golf League.

The Long Game