Phil Mickelson is not leaving the game on the PGA Tour again, even if he is not currently welcomed there.
During his 25-minute session with reporters before the US Open, Mickelson stated that his choice would be to “be able to choose which path I prefer. One or the other or both.”
“I am so grateful for the many memories, opportunities, experiences, friendships and relationships that PGA Tours have provided and they will last a lifetime,” Mickelson said. “But I am hopeful that I will have the opportunity to create more.”
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Mickelson led the defection of 17 PGA Tour members in the LIV Golf Series, a counter-tour of the tour by suspending those who had decided to keep their membership.
Asked why he finally took the step, he said, “I think there is a clear incredible financial commitment.”
Mickelson is reported to have earned $ 270 million to move into the new series. Saudi support for the new tour has led to criticism that those attending the event are helping the state whitewash its widely criticized human rights record and its connection to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
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He made his public debut last weekend at the LIV event outside of London, playing the Stabley Beard, Mickelson spoke of a lifelong membership of more than 30 years on the PGA Tour. He said he had no intention of resigning the way Dustin Johnson, Kevin Na, Sergio Garcia and a few others did and had no interest in predicting his future on the tour.
“I’ve got that lifetime membership, so I think it should be my choice,” he said.
Mickelson, 52, on Thursday, won the PGA Championship last year and received a five-year discount at the US Open. That means five more chances to catch the lone major that he missed.
He was repeatedly asked what the decision to play for the Saudi-backed golf league could do for his position with his fans who have loved him for decades.
“I respect and I understand their opinions,” Mickelson said.
“And I understand that they have strong feelings and strong emotions about this choice. And I certainly respect that.”
He was also respectful of the players he has competed against over the years, many of whom have been sharply critical of the new league.
“I respect them if they don’t agree,” he said. “But this is the right decision at this time.”
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