Phil Mickelson came out of the shadows.
In what is believed to be his first public appearance since he made his controversial comments about the Saudis in February, the 51-year-old sported a slim beard, sleek hair at the back and an all-black outfit during the LIV Golf event in London. On Tuesday, before the start of the first Saudi-backed golf tournament, which begins Thursday.
Mark Cannizzaro of The Post first reported on Monday that Greg Norman, who leads the LIV Golf Challenge on the PGA Tour, has included Mickelson for the new league. The Golf Channel reported that the Mickelson LIV Golf contract is worth approximately $200 million.
Mickelson admitted to biographer Alan Shipnock in February that the Saudis were “scary moms to get involved with,” but he still considered joining LIV Golf because he didn’t like how the PGA Tour worked.
We know they were killed [Washington Post reporter and US resident Jamal] Khashoggi has an appalling human rights record. “They’re executing people there for being gay,” Mickelson told Chipnak. “Knowing all this, why am I even thinking about it? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour works. They were able to overcome manipulative, coercive and strong-arm tactics because we, the players, had no sanctuary. Nice guy like [PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan] It comes as, unless you have leverage, it won’t do the right thing. Saudi money has finally given us that leverage. I’m not even sure I want [LIV Golf] To achieve success, but just the idea of it allows us to get things done using [PGA] a trip.”
On February 22, Mickelson released a statement saying he was “deeply sorry” for his “reckless” comments. He hasn’t played competitive golf since and lost several sponsors, including KPMG.
Mickelson was not at the LIV Golf press conference earlier on Tuesday which ended with a confrontation between a reporter and officials. Dustin Johnson, another big star that Norman signed for $125 million, said he joined LIV Golf and quit the PGA Tour because he “chosen the best for me and my family”.
LIV Golf has a team component, and Mickelson was one of 12 captains to craft a team Tuesday. His “HyFlyers GC” cast includes Justin Harding, Ratchanon Chantanwat and Chase Kupka, the younger brother of Brooks Kupka.