Phil Mickelson has apologised for his comments around the Saudi Golf League and will take a break from the sport

Phil Mickelson has apologised for his comments around the Saudi Golf League and will take a break from the sport


PHIL MICKELSON has backtracked for his 'choice of words' surrounding the Saudi Golf League. The 51-year-old apologized for the comments and also confirmed that he will be taking a hiatus from golf. 

Mickelson had been one the most vocal voices surrounding the breakaway Saudi funded project funded by former world number one Greg Norman.

He sat down with golf writer and author Alan Shipnuck, for his book titled ' Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf's Most Colorful Superstar' back in November and said:

‘They’re scary motherf****** to get involved with,’ Mickelson said

‘They killed [Washington Post reporter and U.S. resident Jamal] Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights. They execute people over there for being gay. Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates.’

Mickelson received backlash for putting money above human rights abuses, golfers like Rory McIlroy called the six-time-major winner Naive, selfish, egotistical, ignorant".

Now the Californian has issued a statement backtracking on what was his original statement and ultimately regrets the comments;

"Although it doesn't look this way now given my recent comments, my actions throughout this process have always been with the best interest of golf, my peers, sponsors, and fans.

"There is the problem of off-record comments being shared out of context and without my consent but the bigger issue is that I used words I sincerely regret 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."

AL MUROOJ, SAUDI ARABIA - FEBRUARY 05: Phil Mickelson of The USA . (Photo by Oisin Keniry/Getty Images)

Despite regretting the comments, the American feels that golf needs to change  for the better, if it wants to improve

He added: "Golf desperately needs change, and real change is always preceded by disruption.

"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 the work behind the scenes."

Finally Mickelson has also confirmed that he will take time away from the game following the explosive statements

He said: "I have made a lot of mistakes in my life and many have been shared with the public. My intent was never to hurt anyone and I'm so sorry to the people I have negatively impacted.

"I have experienced many successful and rewarding moments that I will always cherish, but I have often failed myself and others too. The past 10 years I have felt the pressure and stress slowly affecting me at a deeper level.

"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."

The April's Masters at Augusta could have Mickelson, but there has been no confirmation of how long he plans to stay away from the sport.