By Fatiha Betscher, Royal Greens GC, Saudi Arabia.
At 52-years of age, the chances of competing regularly on the PGA Tour are slim, even if you are a former multiple major champion.
In Phil Mickelson’s case, he’s won 45 times since a first win as a then amateur in capturing the 1991 Phoenix Open to sealing victory in the 2021 PGA Championship, and in what was a sixth major championship of his career, to become also the oldest winner of a men’s major.
However, if they were handing out a major to the No. 1 bad boy among the LIV Golfers who quit the PGA Tour, it would be Mickelson given his now infamous Saudi related comments, supposedly off the record, to colleague Alan Shipnuck.
In writing this article along the lines of the heading to the story, it seems the PGA Tour doesn’t care if Mickelson does not play again on the PGA Tour as his name has been removed from the list of players featuring on the Tour’s website under the ‘PGA Tour’ and also on the list of players featuring on their Champions Tour web pages.
And in being asked about his relationship with the PGA Tour, Mickelson said ahead of this week’s fifth anniversary of the Saudi International that he’s at peace should he never play another PGA Tour event.
“If I were never to play another PGA Tour event, I’m totally at peace with it,” he said to colleague Bob Harig writing for Sports Illustrated.
“But I believe by next year I’ll have the opportunity if I want [due to the pending litigation]. I don’t know if I’ll have the time. I’m playing 19 events and don’t know how much more. I’d actually rather scale down the number of tournaments, because I’m also in the four majors. That’s a lot of golf.
“I’m motivated and excited to get started. All of these things create new energy. Having teammates to push each other. I’m motivated, but I don’t see the benefit of playing more. The tournaments where you are going to leave a mark are the majors. That creates a life memory.
“If I win another Tour event, who cares? It’s not like it’s going to do anything for how I look at my career. Another major would be a unique, special moment. That’s really where I want to thrive. And sure, it would mean a lot to win some LIV events because of the role I’ve played as it’s been created.”
However, if we lose Mickelson on the PGA Tour we have the golfer affectionately known as ‘Lefty’ back on social media after closing down his account in the wake, as highlighted above, of his ‘Saudi’ related remarks in a phone call to Shipnuck that saw Mickelson dumped by most of his long-time sponsors.
“I’ve had a lot of fun with it over the years, and this last year I’ve kind of gone dark, if you will, and rightfully so,” Mickelson said in returning to Twitter.
“I have to be very careful; I can’t say all the things I want to say yet. But many this year I’ll be able to. I’ll have that freedom when some of these things going on off the course get settled and become more transparent.
“I have to be a little bit guarded right now, but later this year when things are much more transparent, I’ll be able to be more engaging.
“But in areas that I’m able to be, I guess, more engaging, where it’s not going to cause problems with some of the things that are going on off the course, then I’m going to try to do that, because I enjoy it. I think it’s fun. I’ve always enjoyed having fun.
“But there’s a little bit of a transition, and I knew that this was going to happen for the first couple of years, that I’ll have to be sensitive and careful and a little bit guarded. But I’m looking forward to being a little more engaging, as well.”