Phil Mickelson says he won’t be leaving the PGA Tour

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Phil Mickelson, whose reputation has been damaged by his decision to play in the Saudi-backed LIV series of golf, said Wednesday that he does not plan to follow Dustin Johnson and others into withdrawing from the PGA Tour and again stopped short of saying whether he had been disciplined by the PGA.

“I won a lot from the PGA Tour, I received a lot,” Mickelson told reporters on the eve of LIV’s first event, which offers a total prize fund of $255 million, at the Centurion Club near London. “I worked hard to contribute and add value to the tour during my time there. I worked hard to get a lifetime exemption, I don’t want to give it up and I don’t feel I have to.

“I don’t know what that means for the future. I don’t know what will happen. But I won it, and I don’t plan to just give it up.”

Mickelson, 51, is back in the sport after taking a break in the clamor over his comments on the Saudis and the LIV series. He refused to clarify the question of whether the Bar Association had suspended him. “I have a lot of strong opinions about things that should and could be much better,” Mickelson said. “One of the mistakes I made was to put it publicly. So I will make a real effort to keep these conversations behind closed doors moving forward. I think this is the way to be the most efficient and get the most out of it.”

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With his unflattering beard, the hero paused six times repeatedly to weigh his words before responding. He refused to disclose whether reports that he would receive $200 million for playing in the eight Saudi events were accurate, and reiterated that he “does not condone human rights violations.” Mickelson’s comments about the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi and other human rights abuses sparked a backlash against the golfer who was one of America’s most famous athletes in years. The Saudis denied their involvement in the Khashoggi murder.

“I don’t condone human rights abuses at all,” Michelson said. “No one here, all over the world. I’m certainly aware of what happened to Jamal Khashoggi, and I think it’s horrific. I’ve also seen the good that golf has done throughout history, and I think LIV Golf will do a lot of good to the game as well. I’m excited about this opportunity.” And that’s why I’m here.”

Mickelson has not played in a PGA Tour event since he missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open in late January. The absence followed his comments to biographer Alan Shipnock that he was willing to turn a blind eye to Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.

“They’re scary moms to get involved with,” Mickelson said. We know they were killed [Khashoggi] It has an appalling human rights record. They execute people there for being gay. 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.”

On Wednesday, Mickelson declined to direct these and other comments to Shipnuck in his approximately 30-minute interview, but said he “has said and done a lot of things that I regret. I’m so sorry for that and sorry for the hurt it’s caused to so many people.” He noted that a four-month break was something he hadn’t had in more than 30 years.

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“I had the opportunity to spend time with my wife, Amy, spend time traveling parts of the world, spend time at our place in Montana skiing and hiking in Sedona. It gave me time to continue some work and therapy in the areas that I feel comfortable with. lack in my life.” “It has given me time to think about what I want to do moving forward and what is best for me and what is best for the people I care about.”

He intends to play the four majors (Masters, PGA Championship, US Open and British Open), which are not operated by the PGA Tour. The US Golf Association puts on the US Open announce Tuesday, any golfers who have qualified for next week’s tournament will be allowed to play at the Country Club in Brooklyn, Massachusetts.

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