Mickelson loses corporate ties over Saudi remarks
Already off two corporate endorsements, Phil Mickelson and his foundation were removed from the PGA Tour event in the California desert on Saturday as the fallout continued over his shocking remarks and involvement in a rival league funded by Saudi Arabia.
The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, California reported that The American Express will no longer have the Phil and Amy Mickelson Foundation as its main charitable arm, and that Mickelson will no longer host the tournament.
The foundation had been the host since 2019. The PGA Tour said it would have no further comment except to confirm that Mickelson is no longer involved.
Mickelson was quoted as telling golf writer Alan Shipnuck that the Saudi group behind a proposed new league was “a scary (expletive) mother to get involved with”.
“We know they killed (Washington Post columnist Jamal) Khashoggi and they have a horrible human rights record. They execute people there because they are gay,” he said. Mickelson told Shipnuck, whose biography on Mickelson is due in May “Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it? Because this is a unique opportunity to reshape the way the PGA Tour works.”
The rival league suffered a major blow last week when none of the top 12 players in the world showed interest in joining for guaranteed riches. Mickelson made an awkward statement on Tuesday in which he admitted his comments were “reckless” but were not meant to be shared.
He also apologized to Greg Norman’s LIV Golf Investments for anything taken out of context and called them visionaries who, like him, want to make golf better.
Mickelson did not mention the PGA Tour or commissioner Jay Monahan, whom he called in Shipnuck’s interview a “dictatorship.”
He said he “desperately needs” time to get his priorities straight.
KPMG was the first to announce it was immediately ending its six-time corporate sponsorship with the major which dated back to 2008, saying they had mutually agreed to it. Amstel Light has also announced that it is ending its partnership.
Callaway Golf, which Mickelson has represented since the 2004 Ryder Cup in Oakland Hills, said it was on hold.
The company told Golf Digest it was “very disappointed with its choice of words – they now reflect Callaway’s values or what we stand for as a company.”
Workday, which has sponsored Mickelson since 2017, told Golf Digest it will not renew the contract when it expires at the end of March.
The American Express didn’t have the “high status” like other PGA Tour events with players as host – Tiger Woods at the Genesis Invitational, the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Jack Nicklaus-led Memorial.
Mickelson is a two-time winner of the tournament, long known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has missed the cut each of the last three years.
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