What has Phil Mickelson said about Saudi Arabia? LIV Golf decision u-turn and comments explained

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The 2013 Open Championship winner and three times victor at The Masters is set to feature in the first round of the new, highly controversial event.

Phil Mickelson is set to play at the opening event of the Saudi Arabia backed LIV Golf Invitational Series tournament at the Centurion Club this month.

The 51-year old, who has not played on the PGA tour since February, joins several other big names in participating at the breakaway tournament including Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia.

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The three-time winner of The Masters, two time PGA Championship winner and 2013 Open Championship winner has spoken publicly about the new series several times before and has now made fresh comments after confirming his place.

Here is what you need to know about what he previously said and his most recent comments:

What did Phil Mickelson initially say about Saudi Arabia?

In February, Mickelson publicly came out in support of the new league but also made several comments about the nation of Saudi Arabia that were deemed to have caused offense.

The 51-year old was speaking to Alan Shipnuck in November 2021, who is writing an unauthorised biography of the US PGA Champion with the comments being made public by the writer on Friday 18 February 2022.

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Mickelson said he supported the new league as it would give US golfers ‘a once-in-lifetime opportunity to reshape’ how the Professional Golf Association operates but also said that Saudi Arabia has ‘a horrible record on human rights’.

Speaking to the author Shipnuck in a phone interview, Mickelson said that the Saudis were ‘scary mother****ers to get involved with’.

The comments were then posted to the website Firepit Collective.

Mickleson added: “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.”

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Following the comments Mickelson decided to take time away from the sport including the US Open and PGA Championship, the latter of which he was the reigning champion.

Mickeson would then go on to issue an apology, saying : “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 from this.”

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Phil Mickelson’s latest comments

Mickelson sent out a tweet on Monday, June 6, confirming his participation in the first event of the Saudi backed series.

The statement said: “First and foremost, I want to again apologise to the many people I offended and hurt with my comments a few months ago.

“I have made mistakes in my career in some of the things I have said and done. Taking time away and self-reflecting has been very humbling.

“I needed to start prioritising the people that I love the most and work on becoming a better version of myself.

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“I have spent this time with Amy and loved ones. I have been engaged and intentional in continued therapy and feel healthy and much more at peace.

“I realise I still have a long way to go, but I am embracing the work ahead.”

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