Phil Mickelson Loses Heineken USA Sponsorship After Saudi League Comments

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 23, 2022

Oisin Keniry/Getty Images

Phil Mickelson lost yet another sponsorship this week in the wake of controversial comments he made about Saudi Arabia and its proposed golf league.

According to Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports, Heineken USA announced Wednesday that it was ending Mickelson's Amstel Light sponsorship, adding, "We wish all the best."

McCarthy noted that Amstel Light joined KPMG as brands that have moved on from Mickelson recently.

Mickelson came under fire last week when author Alan Shipnuck released an excerpt from his upcoming biography of the golfer entitled "Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf's Most Colorful Superstar."

Per ESPN's Mark Schlabach, Mickelson expressed a willingness to negotiate with Saudi Arabian officials regarding the golf league and turn a blind eye toward the country's human rights violations in an effort to press the PGA Tour into making improvements.

Mickelson said the following while speaking to Shipnuck in November:

"They're scary motherf--kers to get involved with. ... They killed [Washington Post reporter and U.S. resident Jamal] 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 reshape how the PGA Tour operates."

On Tuesday, Mickelson released a lengthy statement on the matter on Twitter and apologized for his comments:

Phil Mickelson @PhilMickelson

A Statement from Phil Mickelson <a href="https://t.co/2saaXIxhpu">pic.twitter.com/2saaXIxhpu</a>

The 51-year-old also suggested things were taken out of context to some degree and that Shipnuck was supposed to keep his comments off the record.

Shipnuck later responded, saying it was "completely false" that their conversation was off the record.

Mickelson told Shipnuck he knew "20 guys" who wanted to be part of the Saudi Super Golf League, and he cautioned that the league could take off if "the Tour doesn't do the right thing."

The Super Golf League is backed by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund and led by two-time Open Championship winner Greg Norman, and Kevin Garside of INews.co.uk reported top players had been offered between $30 million and and $50 million to play on the proposed tour.

Mickelson, a six-time major winner, would have been an obvious target for the league, but many players have pledged allegiance to the PGA Tour since the Saudi-backed proposal.

Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy described the idea as "dead in the water" on Sunday.

Per Schlabach, an anonymous PGA Tour player said the Saudi league planned to hold 14 events in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the United States with $20 million purses.

Mickelson has yet to make a public commitment to either the PGA Tour or the Saudi league moving forward.


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