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Phil Mickelson dropped as host of PGA Tour event as fallout continues

Phil Mickelson will no longer serve as host of the PGA Tour's the American Express tournament in La Quinta. Tannen Maury/EPA

Phil Mickelson will no longer serve as host of the PGA Tour's the American Express tournament in La Quinta. Tannen Maury/EPA

Published Feb 27, 2022

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Los Angeles - Phil Mickelson will no longer serve as host of the PGA Tour's the American Express tournament in La Quinta, California following the fallout over his comments about a proposed Saudi-backed league, the Desert Sun reported on Saturday.

The six-time major winner, who has served as tournament host since 2020, will not return to that role next year and his foundation will no longer serve as its charitable arm, the paper reported, citing the PGA Tour.

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The PGA Tour did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Mickelson could not be reached for comment.

The move comes after the release of an interview where Mickelson said that despite believing that Saudi Arabia was guilty of human rights abuses, he sought to use the breakaway league as leverage in his efforts to change the PGA Tour.

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"They're scary... to get involved with," Mickelson said in a November interview that was published on the firepitcollective.com earlier this month.

"We know they killed (journalist Jamal) Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights. They execute people over there for being gay.

"Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates," Mickelson said.

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Saudi Arabia's government denies accusations of human rights abuses.

Mickelson's comments, which he claimed were off the record, drew immediate backlash from golfers including Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas.

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In a lengthy statement on Tuesday, Mickelson apologized to the "visionaries" at LIV Golf Investments, the Super Golf League's financial backer, for his "reckless" comments and reiterated that he believed the PGA Tour needed fundamental change.

The 51-year-old American added that he planned to take a break from the sport.

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Mickelson has parted ways with a number of sponsors including accounting firm KPMG and software company Workday in the wake of the controversy.

No golfers have publicly signed up for the proposed rival league, which is trying to lure top players away from the PGA Tour with the promise of huge paydays.

Reuters

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Phil Mickelson

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