Mickelson questioned Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and called them a ‘scary fucking mother ******’; he has since apologized for his “reckless” comments and filed an application to participate in a LIV Golf Invitational Series event that conflicts with the PGA Tour
Last update: 22/05/03 00:30
Phil Mickelson’s recent criticism of a Saudi-backed golf tour proposal has ‘hurt’ the upstart league, says former two-time Major Championship winner Greg Norman, CEO of LIV Golf Invitational Series.
Comments from a Mickelson interview with author Alan Shipnuck in November emerged in February, in which the 51-year-old called Saudis a ‘scary mother ****** to get involved with’ and questioned the country’s human rights record.
Mickelson has since apologized for his “reckless” comments and filed an application to play in an event that conflicts with the PGA Tour, signaling his desire to continue playing in the new Saudi Super League.
Jon Rahm believes Phil Mickelson’s legacy should not be tarnished despite his controversial comments and involvement in the LIV Golf International Series.
Norman, addressing ESPN Monday, Mickelson said of the controversy: “There’s no doubt that (it) hurts.
“It hurt a lot of aspects. It hurt the PGA Tour. It hurt us. It hurt golf. It hurt Phil. So yeah, on all fronts.
“It wasn’t just specifically for us. But it definitely created a negative momentum against us.”
Norman added that almost a third of the world’s top 50 players had committed to playing on the new golf circuit, although when Mickelson’s comments came to light, many top players reaffirmed their commitment to play on the PGA Tour.
Zach Johnson has not ruled out having Phil Mickelson as a potential Ryder Cup vice-captain, despite his involvement in the Saudi Golf League project.
“Quite honestly, we were ready to launch (in February),” Norman said. “We had enough players in our field strength, or minimal viable product, ready to join us.
“And when all of that happened, everyone got stage fright.”
Originally planned to be a 14-event schedule, the LIV Golf Invitational Series has restructured with a potential eight-event season. Of these, five are expected to take place in the United States. A total of $255 million is expected to be up for grabs.
“I was very pleasantly surprised,” added Norman. “What is talked about in the media and what is the reality are two different things.
“We know what’s going on with a lot of expressed interest. From an expectation perspective, we have a lot of interest from significantly named players.”