Phil Mickelson was asked about the criticism for playing in a league backed by Saudi Arabia, and Mickelson was diplomatic in his response.
“I respect and I understand their opinions,” Mickelson said, via the Associated Press. “And I understand that they have strong feelings and strong emotions regarding this choice. And I certainly respect that.”
Mickelson, 52, supposedly is no longer welcome on the PGA Tour, but it doesn’t seem as if he’ll hand over his membership anytime soon.
“I’ve earned that lifetime membership,” he said. “So I think it should be my choice.”
Mickelson was speaking ahead of the U.S. Open and added he should be able to “choose which path I’d like — one or the other, or both.”
Along with 16 others, Mickelson defected from the PGA to the Saudi-backed LIV. The PGA countered by suspending the memberships of Mickelson and the others.
Clearly, though, he’s not gonna go quietly, if at all. He was adamant he does not intend to resign, the way Dustin Johnson, Kevin Na, Sergio Garcia and several others have done.
“I’m very appreciative of the many memories, opportunities, experiences, friendships and relationships the PGA Tour has provided and those are going to last a lifetime,” Mickelson said, again, diplomatically. “But I’m hopeful that I’ll have a chance to create more.”