Phil Mickelson said Wednesday that he would not tolerate human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia on the eve of the first event of the Gulf Kingdom-funded divisive LIV Golf Invitation Series.
Earlier this week, six major winners confirmed that they had teeed off at the Centurion Club in the suburbs of London on Thursday and signed up to participate in the Breakaway series.
The American, who won the oldest major championship in the 2021 PGA Championship, also said he plans to play in majors, including the US Open next week.
Mickelson, 51, hasn’t played since February when he released comments criticizing Saudi supporters of the US PGA Tour and LIV Golf.
In an interview with author Alan Shipnuck, a left-handed person said that LIV Golf is an opportunity to take advantage of the PGA Tour.
However, Mickelson pointed out that journalist Jamal Khashoggi had died at the Saudi Consulate and described the supporters of the new venture as “terrifying” with “terrifying records of human rights.”
Saudi agents killed and dismantled Khashoggi, who turned from an insider to a critic, at the Istanbul Consulate in the Kingdom in October 2018. His body has not been found.
Fallout from the killings continues to undermine the image of Saudi Arabia, especially in the United States.
Amnesty International states that the LIV series is an example of Saudi Arabia’s attempt to “sports wash” human rights records.
At a press conference on the eve of the tournament on Wednesday, Mickelson faced the grill, finding a field of 48 players at the $ 25 million 54-hole LIV Golf Invitational London.
An American who entered the room of the Centurion Club in St Albans was asked what it meant by wearing dark glasses and describing Saudi Arabia as “scary.”
“Sure, I made, said, and did a lot of regrets, and I’m sorry to hurt that it caused a lot of people,” he said.
“I don’t tolerate human rights abuses at all. No one here. No one in the world. I know for sure what happened to Jamal Khashoggi. I think it’s terrible. increase.
“I have also seen the good things that golf games have achieved throughout history. I believe that LIV Golf will do a lot of good things for games. I am excited about this opportunity.”
-PGA Tour Warning-
Players who choose LIV Golf did so despite the disciplinary action PGA Tour warning.
Many players, including two-time major winner Dustin Johnson, have resigned from the tour to compete in the LIV golf event, but Mickelson said he wouldn’t follow suit.
“I worked really hard to get a lifetime exemption,” said the 45-time winner of the tour. “And I don’t want to give it up. I don’t think I have to.”
Mickelson refused to confirm or reject whether it was suspended by the PGA Tour or is currently suspended.
He also refused to confirm if he had received $ 200 million to attend a LIV golf event, but his answer showed that the reported amount could be accurate. rice field.
“I think the contract should be kept private,” Mickelson said. “It doesn’t seem to be the case, but it should be.”
Players such as Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Tiger Woods are all on the PGA Tour, but Ian Poulter believes that top golfers may change their minds in the future.
“There is no doubt that other top players are watching this week and want to be part of it,” said an Englishman on the field at the Centurion Club.
“There is a huge investment in golf and sports games, and this week definitely other players will be interested and paying attention. They want to come and see what it is. You will think. “
The LIV series, which consists of eight tournaments this year, is funded by the Saudi Arabia Sovereign Wealth Fund.
Players compete as individuals and teams for a spectacular $ 25 million wallet in all seven regular season events played over three rounds without cuts.
The eighth and final event is the Team Championship with a total prize pool of $ 50 million.