Phil Mickelson Hoping to “Reshape” PGA With Involvement in Saudi Golf League

There aren't too many solid details about the league aside from that Greg Norman is going to lead it

Phil Mickelson hits an approach shot at the PIF Saudi International
Phil Mickelson hits an approach shot at the PIF Saudi International.
Oisin Keniry/Getty Images

Comments from Phil Mickelson about his involvement in the Saudi Golf League that are set to be published in a new book are, if nothing else, inflammatory.

While not much is certain about the SGL other than that Greg Norman is going to lead the new organization, it certainly sounds as if Mickelson is going to be involved. And, based on what the 51-year-old Hall of Famer said in Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar, the PGA is not going to like it.

“They’re scary motherfuckers to get involved with,” Mickelson said of playing in Saudi Arabia.. “We know they killed [Washington Post reporter and U.S. resident Jamal] 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.”

According to Mickelson, three other “top players” and himself paid for attorneys to write up the SGL’s operating agreement to state that players would have control of all the details about the league.

After hearing Mickelson’s comments, fellow star golfer Justin Thomas didn’t mince his words.

“Seems like a bit of a pretty, you know, egotistical statement,” Thomas said, per Golf Digest. “I don’t know. It’s like he’s done a lot of great things for the PGA Tour, [he’s] a big reason it is where it is. But him and others that are very adamant about [exploring the SGL], if they’re that passionate, go ahead. I don’t think anybody’s stopping them. I’ve never really gone down that road. I have a lot of things I’m focused on accomplishing out here and I’ll be the first to say that, yeah, there’s plenty of things that I would love to see improve with the PGA Tour. But that’s a part of the process, you know? All you want to do is better the product and one by one, if we can improve this here, this there and keep getting better, then everybody wins.”

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