Phil Mickelson Jun 13, 2022; Brookline, Massachusetts, USA; Phil Mickelson speaks in a press conference during a practice round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at The Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Phil Mickelson had to face some tough critics after his first weekend playing on the LIV Golf series this past weekend. Mickelson looked visibly shaken taking questions from reporters at his U.S. Open press conference on Monday when questioned why he and other (now-suspended) PGA Tour members would play golf with the Saudi-backed league knowing what they know about that country’s involvement in human rights violations and terrorism.

One of his harshest critics was Terry Strada, whose husband died in the September 11th attacks and is the head of 9/11 Families United. Strada put the LIV golfers on blast Monday and called out Mickelson in particular after he side-stepped tough questions.

“Phil knows exactly what he’s doing, and he and his fellow LIV golfers should be ashamed,” read the new statement. “They are helping the Saudi regime ‘sportswash’ their reputation in return for tens of millions of dollars, at the very same time our government is rolling out more damning evidence of Saudi culpability in the 9/11 attacks. As the PGA Tour commissioner said Sunday ‘you’d have to be living under a rock’ to not understand the implications of involving yourself with the Saudis.”

Strada and the foundation had previously released a statement criticizing Mickelson and the other golfers, saying that they had sold themselves out by aligning with LIV Golf.

“Our community wishes to express our outrage at your partnership with LIV Golf and remind you of the responsibility that your new business partner, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, shoulders for providing the financial support and logistical support that enabled the terrorists to attack our nation and kill our loved ones,” Strada wrote.

“Much to our disappointment, you appear pleased to be in business with them. Given Saudi Arabia’s role in the death of our loved ones and those injured on 9/11 -— your fellow Americans —- we are angered that you are so willing to help the Saudis cover up this history in their request for ‘respectability.'”

“Please, do not insult our loved ones’ memories and take the pathetic position, as one of your foreign colleagues did last week, claiming you are ‘just golfers playing a game’ or blandly treating the evils of the Saudi regime as ‘human rights’ concerns. You’re all Americans, keenly aware of the death and destruction of September 11. Whether it was the appeal of millions of dollars of hard cash or just the opportunity to prosecute your professional grievances with the PGA, you have sold us out.”

Strada also said she hopes the PGA Tour won’t allow these golfers to represent the U.S. in the Ryder Cup.

[Sean Zak]

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.