Phil Mickelson: Golfers respond to Saudi comments: ‘If he’s sincerely sorry…he deserves a second chance’



CNN

PGA Tour golfers including Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger discussed Phil Mickelson’s recent comments on the Saudi-backed breakaway golf tour, the Super Golf League.

On Tuesday, six-time major winner Mickelson said comments he made about the reported tour were off the record – a claim the reporter who interviewed him denied – and said they were shared out of context and without his consent.

The Super League is said to be a Saudi-backed venture that would try to draw golfers away from the main golf tours, the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour, with big money deals.

Last week, Mickelson was quoted in a 2021 interview with author Alan Shipnuck for his upcoming book, “Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar,” saying he would consider join the proposed Super League. because it’s “a unique opportunity to reshape the way the PGA Tour works.”

Shipnuck quoted Mickelson saying disparaging things about Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and saying the kingdom killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Four-time PGA Tour winner Daniel Berger says Mickelson “deserves a second chance” if he feels remorse over his comments.

“I don’t know much about the whole Phil, Saudi thing. I try not to pay attention to it,” he said.

“I just think it’s kind of noise, but my experience with Phil in the past has been good experiences and I think everyone deserves a second chance, so if he’s sincerely sorry for what he said, so I think he deserves a second chance.”

Since Mickelson’s comments, several major golf stars – including Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau – have reiterated their commitment to the PGA Tour, with Berger also following suit.

“I have always been behind the Tour. I think the commissioner [Jay] Monahan is the right person for the job,” he said. “I think he did an amazing job through Covid, something that people didn’t give him enough credit for, what he was able to do in such difficult times.

“There is no one I would trust more to guide the Tour through all these difficult times and I think he has done a great job. I like the direction the Tour is taking. I like the news initiatives that have been put in place.

Brooks Koepka, a four-time major winner, says he “overflew” Mickelson’s comments and remains “pleased with the PGA Tour”, but doesn’t think that’s the last players and fans will hear of a breakaway tour.

“I think everyone here is happy,” he said. “He [Mickelson] can think whatever he wants to think, man, he can do whatever he wants to do. So I think everyone here is happy and I think a lot of people here have the same opinion.

“I do not [think talk of the breakaway league is over]. Everyone talks about money,” he added. ” They have [Saudi Arabia] enough. I don’t see him backing down; they can just double down and they’ll understand. They will have their guys. Someone will sell and go.


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