Phil Mickelson apologizes and says he "desperately needs time away"

Phil Mickelson has apologized for his remarks that he made to the biographer Alan Shipnuck. 

Ben Smith's picture
Tue, 22 Feb 2022
Phil Mickelson apologizes and says he "desperately needs time away"

Phil Mickelson has released a statement apologizing for what he says were "off the record remarks" about the Saudi Golf League.

Mickelson, 51, sent shockwaves through the golf world in comments he made to the biographer Alan Shipnuck. 

Those comments were made back in November but only last week were made public. Mickelson claims they were off the record.



In those remarks, it appeared Mickelson claimed he had "a once in a lifetime opportunity to re-shape the PGA Tour". 

He called the Saudis "scary motherf***ers" and suggested that their money had finally given him and the players leverage. 

His comments drew derision from the golf world and his fellow players. Rory McIlroy described him as "naive and ignorant". 

Shipnuck has responded by writing on Twitter: "The 'off the record' piece of this is completely false and I'll have more to say on that shortly."

Mickelson's statement reads:

"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. 

"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. 

"My experience with LIV Golf Investments has been very positive, I apologize for anything I said that was taken out of context. 

"The specific people I have worked with are visionaries and have only been supportive. More importantly they passionately love golf and share my drive to make the game better. 

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"They have a clear plan to create an updated positive experience for everyone including players, sponsors, networks and fans. 

"I have incredible partners, and these relationships mean so much more to me than a contract. 

"Many have been my most influential mentors and I consider all to be lifelong friends. 

"The last thing I would ever want to do is compromise them or their business in any way, and I have given all of them the option to pause or end relationships as I understand it might be necesarry given the current circumstances. 

"I believe in these people and companies and will always be here for them with or without a contract. 

"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. 

"This has always been about supporting the players and the game and I appreciate all the people who have given me the benefit of the doubt. 



"Despite my belief that some changes have already been made within the overall discourse, I know I need to be accountable. 

"For the past 31 years I have lived a very public life and I have strived to live up to my own expectations, be the role model the fans deserve, and be someone that inspires others. 

"I've worked to compete at the highest level, be available to media, represent my sponsors with integrity, engage with volunteers and sign every autograph for my incredible fans. 

"I have experienced many successful rewarding moments 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." 

Next page: Billy Horschel accuses Mickelson of "complete lies"