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Phil Mickelson doesn’t care about Saudi Arabia’s awful human rights record


Phil Mickelson doesn’t care about Saudi Arabia’s awful human rights record

Not cool, Phil.Image: Getty Images

Phil Mickelson will stop at nothing to spite the PGA Tour — not even willingly joining up with the Saudis’ new golf league while simultaneously acknowledging their human rights abuses.

Alan Shipnuck, who has a biography of Mickelson coming out soon, posted an excerpt from his book on Mickelson’s intent to join the Saudi-backed Super Golf League, which was formed in an attempt to create a real alternative to the PGA Tour and has been doing its best to lure big-name golfers away from the PGA.

Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau are two of the more well-known golfers who have been connected to the SGL, although much of the connections are little but rumors at the moment. But in Shipnuck’s excerpt, we get to see the mental gymnastics that Mickelson is performing in order to make it okay for himself, with the knowledge that he has, to join the SGL.

“They’re scary motherfuckers to get involved with. We know they killed 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. They’ve been able to get by with manipulative, coercive, strong-arm tactics because we, the players, had no recourse. As nice a guy as [PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan] comes across as, unless you have leverage, he won’t do what’s right. And the Saudi money has finally given us that leverage. I’m not sure I even want [the SGL] to succeed, but just the idea of it is allowing us to get things done with the [PGA] Tour.”

He also refers to the PGA as a dictatorship pretending to be a democracy, which he takes issue with. This is such a deeply fascinating look into the cognitive dissonance that Mickelson is going through, because unlike other golfers in the past, he tells us straight up that he understands what’s at stake.

Sport can transcend a lot in our world — political disagreement, language and cultural barriers, class differences, even international hostility. At what point do we have to put a stop to that…

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