Jun 13, 2022; Brookline, Massachusetts, USA; Phil Mickelson addresses the media during a press conference before rounds of the U.S. Open golf tournament at The Country Club. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The LIV Golf series made its debut this past weekend with several former PGA Tour players, including Phil Mickelson.

It was a strange week for Mickelson and his cohorts, who tried to dodge questions about the Saudi-backed league and the money they were getting paid, all while getting shots taken at them by their PGA Tour counterparts.

Mickelson is still competing in this week’s U.S. Open and he met with the media on Monday. Naturally, the talk turned to money and how the tour is being funded.

Specifically, Mickelson was asked about how survivors and families of victims of 9/11 reached out to him regarding taking money from Saudi Arabia, which played a role in funding the tragedy.


Mickelson offered an apology of sorts without really getting into how he can square the two things.

“I would say to the Strada family, I would say to everyone that has lost loved ones, lost friends on 9/11 that I have deep, deep empathy for them,’’ Mickelson said. “I can’t emphasize that enough. I have the deepest of sympathy and empathy for them.’’

Many people are upset that Mickelson and other former PGA golfers have chosen greed over doing the right thing. Besides being implicated in 9/11, the Saudis also have been accused of many human rights violations.

For his part, Mickelson says he understands why people are upset.

“I know that many of you have strong — well, many people have strong opinions, emotions about my choice to go forward with LIV Golf. I understand, and I respect that,’’ he said. “I’m incredibly grateful for the PGA Tour and the many opportunities it has provided me through the years, but I am excited about this new opportunity as well.’’

Reports are players on the LIV tour are being paid much more to play overseas than with the PGA Tour, though at the cost of many ethical and moral concerns that make the league appear to be a giant “sportswashing” enterprise. Mickelson’s inability to provide coherent answers to these kinds of questions isn’t going to make that sentiment go away.


About Stacey Mickles

Stacey is a 1995 graduate of the University of Alabama who has previously worked for other publications such as Sportskeeda and Saturday Down South.