Radio silence from Phil Mickelson for nearly three months created an eerie atmosphere at the elite Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma. There, the second major tournament of the year begins today without its historic defending champion. “I need time to work on the man I want to be.”
“Over the past 10 years, I’ve felt how stress and pressure has slowly affected me on a deeper level. I know I’ve never been at my best and have a great need to make time for the people I love and work with the man I want to be.”
These are the last words we know from Phil Mickelson at the moment. He wrote them on Twitter and Instagram on February 22. Then the silence became deafening around the American. No more posts on social media. No one from the golf world had seen him yet.
I tried to reach Mickelson, but It’s gone dark†
At the Augusta Masters (the first of a total of four major tournaments) in April, American golfer Bryson DeChambeau was asked if he had heard of Mickelson.
“I tried to reach him, but It’s gone dark† I have no connection with him.”
Last Friday, the PGA Tour officially announced that after canceling Augusta in April, Mickelson has also canceled the main tournament starting today in Tulsa.
And that’s almost every day, a year after Mickelson made history at the age of 50 when he became the oldest winner of a major tournament in 2021.
What is behind the silence of the radio?
The reason for not having the main six-time winner in Tulsa can be traced back to comments about Saudi Arabia in November. Mickelson informally described the leaders of that country as “the dreaded dreaded.”
“We know that they killed (journalist) Jamal Khashoggi and they have a bad human rights record. They execute people because they are gay.”
The main problem with Michelson’s statements was their inconsistency with others’ statements. And the American threatened to move to a new round of golf that will be held with the help of investors from Saudi Arabia. The alleged LIV golf series.
Mickelson accused the PGA Tour of “unpleasant greed,” because the PGA Tour organization owns nearly all of the media rights, including the golfers’ photos. People want to think about the future of golf.
“Why should I consider going with the LIV Golf Series despite everything I know about Saudi Arabia? Because this is a one-time opportunity to change the way the PGA Tour works,” Mickelson said informally.
I apologize for my use of words. I feel very disappointed in myself.
After his comments about the regime in Saudi Arabia were published, Phil Mickelson issued an apology on February 22.
“I’ve made many mistakes in my life and many of them have been made public. I have acted recklessly, insulting people and apologizing for my use of words. I am very disappointed in myself.”
The first consequences are already beginning to be felt for Americans. + KPMG, which had been Mickelson’s sponsor for 14 years, ended the mutual collaboration after the data.
Cancellation or suspension by the PGA?
The question that remains unanswered at the moment is whether Mickelson voluntarily withdrew from this year’s two major tournaments or was suspended by the PGA itself for flushing the change.
PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan came up with a vague explanation. “He has taken a break on his own and has asked for some time. We will give him that time. We do not respond to disciplinary matters, potential issues and current affairs. But every golfer is responsible for his actions.”
The DP World Tour – the previous European Tour – has already threatened to be suspended if golfers participate in tournaments from the LIV Series of golf.
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