Phil Mickelson tweeted an apology on Tuesday in which he said he was sorry for recent comments he made about the PGA Tour and organizers of a Saudi-financed breakaway league.
“Although it doesn’t look this way now given my recent comments, my actions throughout this process have always been with the best interests of golf, my peers, sponsors and fans,” Mickelson wrote. “There is the problem of off-the-record comments being shared out of context and without my consent, but the bigger issue is that I used words that do not reflect my true feelings or intentions.
“It was reckless, I offended people, and I am deeply sorry for my choice of words. I’m beyond disappointed and will make every effort to self-reflect and learn from this.”
Mickelson, 51, caused an uproar last week when author Alan Shipnuck released an excerpt from his upcoming unauthorized biography of the six-time major champion. In the excerpt published on the Fire Pit Collective website, Mickelson described the Saudis as “scary” but said he was looking past their controversial history of human rights violations to gain leverage with the PGA Tour.
Mickelson indicated he would be taking time away from the tour. He has skipped the past four events.
“The past 10 years I have felt the pressure and stress slowly affecting me at a deeper level,” he wrote. “I know I have not been my best and desperately need some time away to prioritize the ones I love most and work on being the man I want to be.”
On the Fire Pit Collective podcast, Shipnuck said Mickelson reached out to him to discuss the PGA Tour and other issues in November. Shipnuck said Mickelson never said their discussion was off the record or for background purposes only, and knew it would be used in his book.
The Super Golf League is being financed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and fronted by Greg Norman. It was attempting to poach many of the PGA Tour’s best players, but many have pledged their intention to stick with the tour.
“My experience with LIV Golf Investments has been very positive,” Mickelson wrote. “I apologize for anything I said that was taken out context. The specific people I have worked with are visionaries and have only been supportive. More importantly they love golf and share my drive to make the game better.”
Mickelson has been leading the charge for the proposed splinter league, which intended to start play this summer, including 10 tournaments in the U.S.
“Golf desperately needs change, and real change is always preceded by disruption,” Mickelson wrote. “I have always known that criticism would come with exploring anything new. I still chose to put myself at the forefront of this to inspire change, taking the hits publicly to do work behind the scenes.”
Mickelson, who became the oldest major champion in history when he won the 2021 PGA Championship at age 50, has been heavily criticized by PGA Tour players, including Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas.
“I don’t want to kick someone while he’s down obviously, but I thought [Mickelson’s comments] were naive, selfish, egotistical, ignorant,” McIlroy said. “A lot of words to describe that interaction he had with Shipnuck. It was just very surprising and disappointing. Sad. I’m sure he’s sitting at home sort of rethinking his position and where he goes from here.”
Mickelson said he has given his sponsors, which include Callaway and Amstel Light, the opportunity to pause their relationships with him. KPMG became the first to announce an end to its partnership with Mickelson, a decision the company said was mutual. “We wish him the best,” KPMG said in an email to The Associated Press.
“I have made a lot of mistakes in my life and many have been shared with the public,” Mickelson wrote. “My intent was never to hurt anyone and I’m sorry to the people I have negatively impacted. This has always been about supporting the players and I appreciate all the people who have given me the benefit of doubt.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.