Phil Mickelson’s controversial comments on the potential breakaway Saudi Super Golf League (SGL) have not gone down well with some of the leading names in the sport.
The six-time major winner caused a stir earlier this month when he accused the PGA of ‘obnoxious greed’ for holding him back from earning more money, before admitting that he was ‘looking for opportunities elsewhere’.
The 51-year-old has acknowledged that Saudi Arabia have a ‘horrible human rights record’, but has hinted that he could still use their SGL as ‘leverage’ against the PGA.
Players who sign up to the SGL will face a lifetime ban from the PGA, which would prevent them from competing in majors, yet Mickelson has warned: ‘If the tour doesn’t do the right thing, there’s a high likelihood it’s (the SGL) is going to happen.’
Reacting to Mickelson’s rant, World No 8 Justin Thomas has hit back at his fellow countryman, and has questioned whether things are actually that bad for players on the PGA Tour.
‘It seems a pretty egotistical statement. He’s done a lot of great things for the PGA Tour. It’s a big reason it is where it is.
‘But, you know, I’ve heard way too much talk about a lot of players that are so “done” with everything [on the PGA Tour]. But they keep hanging around – so clearly they’re not too done,’ Thomas said, as quoted by The Telegraph.
Analyst Eamon Lynch was even harsher in his assessment of Mickelson’s comments.
‘I cannot think of a more morally bankrupt statement that any public figure could make,’ he said.
Meanwhile, Joel Dahmen, who has been a regular practice partner for Mickelson over the years, has made it clear that he sees things differently to ‘Lefty’.
‘Phil doesn’t speak for us and he doesn’t speak for me. This game has given him so much and the Tour has given him so much and he’s fighting back now at 51 years old. It kind of seems like a weird spot.’
Rory McIlroy is another high-profile name who has categorically stated that he will not be joining the breakaway league, although former Masters champion Adam Scott has claimed that he is considering his options.