PHILADELPHIA – On Tuesday, Phil Mickelson apologized for his comments about the Saudis and the proposed Super League, harmful words that he said were not recorded or intended for public distribution.

“It was reckless, I offended people, and I’m sorry for my choice of words,” he said.

At the same time as Michelson’s statement, KPMG became the first of its corporate sponsors to announce the immediate termination of its partnership, KPMG’s decision was reciprocal.

“We wish him all the best,” KPMG said in a statement.

Mickelson said of his comments to author and golf writer Alan Shipnak: “I am very disappointed and will make every effort to reflect and learn from this.”

In explosive remarks, Mickelson told Shipnuk that the Saudis behind the proposed league of separatist rivals were “terrible mothers (swearing) to get involved.”

He also told Shipnuk, who is writing a biography of Mickelson, due out in May, that he should go to bed with the Saudis, despite their history of human rights abuses, if it means a chance to change the PGA tour.

“We know they killed (Washington Post columnist Jamal) Hashoghi and have a terrible reputation in human rights. They will execute people for being gay, ”he said. “Knowing all this, why should I consider it? Because it’s a unique opportunity to change the way the PGA Tour works.”

The interview took place in November last year.

Mickelson said he has always put the interests of golf first, “although it doesn’t look that way now, given my recent comments.”

“There is a problem of comments that are not recorded, disseminated out of context and without my consent,” he said. “But the bigger problem is that I used words that I sincerely regret that do not reflect my true feelings or intentions.”

Shipnuk wrote in The Fire Pit Collective, where he published Mickelson’s comments last week that “he never said our conversation was unregistered or background, or just between us or anything like that. He just opened a vein. “

Shipnuk, who previously wrote for Sports Illustrated, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday that Mickelson’s allegations, which he said in the recording, were “completely false.”

Mickelson also apologized to LIV Golf Investments, a group led by Greg Norman and funded mainly by the Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fund chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

But he did not mention the PGA Tour or its commissioner Jay Manahan, whom he called a “dictatorship” in a Shipnuck interview. Mickelson also said he and three leading players paid lawyers to write a working agreement with the rival league.

It would seem that Mickelson’s comments fall under the touring policy of public statements that unreasonably attack or demean groups such as the tour.

Mickelson, who last year became the oldest major champion in history when he won the PGA Championship at age 50, said he has experienced pressure and stress over the past 10 years affecting him on a deeper level and needs to rest.

But he did not say whether he would take a break from playing golf. He did not play with the Saudi International on February 6. He’s not playing this week. His statement ended: “I know I wasn’t the best, and I desperately need some time to prioritize those I love the most and work on being the person I want to be.”

Mickelson said he did not want to jeopardize his corporate partners, and gave them the opportunity to suspend or terminate their relationship with him.

At the heart of his statement was a statement that he acted in the interests of golf, players, sponsors and fans, “although this now looks wrong given my recent comments.”

He also said he should be held accountable, “although I believe some changes have already been made in the general discourse.”

The PGA Tour has made changes to reward the best players amid the threat of a possible Saudi league by launching a “Player Impact Program” that offsets the stars ’popularity and impressions on social media. Mickelson claimed to have won the PIP in his first year.

Copyright © 2022, Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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