Prior to teeing it up in this week’s LIV Golf event in Jeddah – the commercial center of Saudi Arabia – Phil Mickelson was asked about his past criticisms of the Saudi people. His harsh comments about Saudis were widely covered, and even included in a recent book, but Mickelson quickly denied everything when confronted about them.
Back in February, sports writer and author Alan Shipnuck shared a quote from Mickelson in which the lefty criticized the Saudis and their less-than-stellar human rights record.
“They’re scary motherfu-kers to get involved with. 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,” Mickelson reportedly told Shipnuck.
During his pre-tournament press conference on Thursday, Mickelson stated “I will reiterate, I never did an interview with Alan Shipnuck.”
“I find my experience with everybody associated with LIV Golf has been nothing but incredibly positive, and I have the utmost respect for everybody I’ve been involved with,” Mickelson continued.
Phil Mickelson Denying Past Comments Makes No Sense
Mickelson claiming he never did an interview isn’t the same as him saying he never talked to Shipnuck, which is important, because we already know that he did.
A few days after his ‘scary motherfu-kers’ comment was shared, Mickelson apologized for his comments while claiming his discussion with Shipnuck was off the record.
“There is a problem of off-the-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,” Mickelson wrote in his apology.
Shipnuck later wrote another piece explaining the process behind his interview with Mickelson. He wrote that Mickelson made a “half-hearted attempt at revisionist history, trying to say our talk had been a private conversation, but I shut that down real quick.”
Despite calling Saudis ‘scary motherfu-kers’ and facing tremendous pushback from the entire golf world, Mickelson elected to join the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series for a reported $200 million.
I suppose that size of check will make you forget past criticisms of the people cutting said check.
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris