Phil Mickelson Dodges Questions About PGA Tour Suspension, LIV Golf Removes Alan Shipnuck From Presser

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Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and the rest of the 17 PGA Tour players to tee off in the LIV Golf Invitational Series’ inaugural event in London Thursday were indefinitely suspended by the tour.

Fresh off his one under 69 showing at the Centurion Club, Mickelson was asked questions relating to his suspension from the PGA Tour. Having not resigned from the PGA Tour, the 51-year-old declined to comment on tour matters — no matter how many different ways he was asked, per ESPN’s Kevin Van Valkenburg.

Among the field of reporters firing away at Mickelson was Alan Shipnuck, the biographer who published quotes from Mickelson where he addressed the human rights violations in Saudi Arabia, which funds LIV Golf.

“They’re scary motherf–kers to get involved with,” Mickelson said. “We know they killed [Washington Post reporter 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.”

Shipnuck didn’t last long at the press conference and was physically escorted out. Shipnuck said security guards removed him at the request of their boss, whom they refused to name. Fire Pit Collective released video of Shipnuck getting tossed, where you can see Greg Norman looking on in the background. Norman is the commissioner of LIV Golf and CEO of LIV Golf Investments.

Shipnuck later revealed text messages between he and Norman, in which “The Shark” denied knowing about what took place.

Lost in the off the course drama is that there was golf to be played Thursday. And for Mickelson, his first competitive round since the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open in January was “fun,” he said.

“It’s been awhile since I’ve played, so I don’t know. It seemed awfully fun,” Mickelson said, via Sports Illustrated’s Bob Harig. “The people were terrific and it was fun to hit some good shots and get in a competitive frame of mind again. I really enjoyed it.

“It’s a very cool energy here.’’

Van Valkenburg added that Mickelson confirmed he would play in every LIV Golf event, in which there are eight of them. The six-time Major champion confirmed earlier this week that he will play in the 122nd U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, next weekend, meaning he will take part as a suspended PGA Tour player.

The PGA Tour doesn’t have jurisdiction over the Majors, which means each governing body can decide who can play in the events. The United States Golf Association (USGA) said in a statement Tuesday that any of the PGA Tour players in LIV Golf are permitted to play in the U.S. Open.

St Albans, England – June 9, 2022: Phil Mickelson tees off on the first hole at the Centurion Club during the LIV Golf Invitational Series’ inaugural event. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

“We pride ourselves in being the most open championship in the world and the players who have earned the right to compete in this year’s championship, both via exemption and qualifying, will have the opportunity to do so,’’ the USGA said in a statement. “Our field criteria were set prior to entries opening earlier this year and it’s not appropriate, nor fair to competitors, to change criteria once established.

“Regarding players who may choose to play in London this week, we simply asked ourselves this question — should a player who had earned his way into the 2022 U.S. Open, via our published field criteria, be pulled out of the field as a result of his decision to play in another event? And we ultimately decided that they should not.’’

Written by Nick Geddes

Nick Geddes is a 2021 graduate of the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. A life-long sports enthusiast, Nick shares a passion for sports writing and is proud to represent OutKick.


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