Phil Mickelson Says He Won't Comment Publicly on PGA Tour Issues Ahead of LIV Debut

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJune 8, 2022

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - JUNE 08: Phil Mickelson of the United States looks on during a press conference at The Centurion Club on June 08, 2022 in St Albans, England. (Photo by Chris Trotman/LIV Golf/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/LIV Golf/Getty Images

Phil Mickelson declined to comment on his standing with the PGA Tour while addressing the media Wednesday ahead of the inaugural LIV Golf event.

According to ESPN's Kevin Van Valkenburg, Mickelson said: "I choose not to speak publicly on PGA Tour issues at this time."

Mickelson is one of several PGA Tour players choosing to play for the Saudi golf league. Some of them, including Dustin Johnson, have announced their resignation from the PGA Tour.

The 51-year-old Mickelson did not make a public resignation, and he also declined to say whether he has been suspended or banned from the PGA Tour.

Mickelson last competed on the PGA Tour in late January, seemingly due in large part to controversial comments he made about Saudi Arabia.

In February, author Alan Shipnuck released an excerpt from his book Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf's Most Colorful Superstar. In the excerpt, Mickelson discussed dealing with the Saudi officials who are financing LIV Golf:

"... 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."

Mickelson lost multiple sponsorships in the wake of those comments, missed many PGA Tour events and didn't play in the Masters or PGA Championship.

On Wednesday, Mickelson followed up on the comments:

"I don't condone human rights violations at all. Nobody here does, throughout the world. I'm certainly aware of what's happened with Jamal Khashoggi, and I think it's terrible. I've also seen the good that the game of golf has done throughout history, and I believe that LIV Golf is going to do a lot of good for the game as well. I'm excited about this opportunity, and that's why I'm here."

Mickelson is undoubtedly the biggest star entered into LIV Golf's event at Centurion Club in London, which takes place this week.

Lefty is a 45-time winner on the PGA Tour and has six major titles, making him one of the most decorated golfers in the history of the sport.

He notably won the PGA Championship last year at the age of 50, making him the oldest major champion of all time.

The PGA Tour denied requests from several players to compete in the LIV Golf London event, which is why some have announced their resignations. Mickelson was among those who requested to play in London, but the PGA Tour's stance did not deter him.

Mickelson noted that he has a lifetime membership on the PGA Tour that he worked hard for and doesn't plan on giving it up by resigning.