Phil Mickelson has arguably been one of the most talked about individuals in the golf world throughout 2022. Now, at the end of April, the six-time Major champion has been spotted on the golf course for the first time since the Saudi International.
Since February, the 51-year-old has been taking a hiatus away from the game, following his controversial comments regarding the PGA Tour and the newly announced LIV Golf Invitational Series.
However, for the first time in two months, Lefty was spotted playing at Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club in California, with Mickelson wearing a black cap and polo shirt, as well as a pair of gray shorts and sunglasses.
The video, which was posted by Fire Pit Collective, has the caption: “Rumors of Phil Mickelson’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. He had plenty of speed yesterday at Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club.”
Rumors of Phil Mickelson’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. He had plenty of speed yesterday at Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club. pic.twitter.com/N3NhqwEA6vApril 28, 2022
Despite the break, it doesn’t seem like Mickelson has lost much of his power, with the 51-year-old blasting his drive off the tee whilst surrounded by, we assume, his friends.
The sighting comes just a day or two after it was revealed in a report by The Telegraph, that Mickelson has signed an agreement to play in all eight of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series events.
Since the six-time Major winner has requested permission to take part in the new Series, which begins at the Centurion Club in June, it is now likely that he will not defend his PGA Championship in May, which he won in historic fashion at Kiawah Island.
The news just adds to the ongoing saga which Mickelson has seen show negativity to both the PGA Tour and LIV Golf Invitational Series. Specifically, how it is backed by a Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund.
In February, Mickelson called out the PGA Tour and its stance on media rights, with the 51-year-old stating: “The players don’t have access to their own media. If the tour wanted to end any threat [from Saudi or anywhere else]they could just hand back the media rights to the players.”
He went on to add: “They also have access to my shots, access I do not have. They also charge companies to use shots I have hit. When I did ‘The Match’—there have been five of them—the tour forced me to pay them $1 million each time. For my own media rights. That type of greed is, to me, beyond obnoxious.”
Not long after his comments on the PGA Tour, Mickelson was soon admitting that his alliance with the rumored Series is just a ruse to “leverage” the Tour.
In an excerpt from Alan Shipnuck’s book, titled ‘Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar’, the six-time major winner made it clear he thinks it’s merely an attempt to “sportswash” Saudi Arabia’s reputation, claiming that: “They’re scary motherf*****s to get involved with.”
The comments soon led to Mickelson releasing a statement apologizing for his actions, with Lefty going on to take a significant break from the game.
During that time, I have lost multiple sponsors like KPMG, Workday, Heineken/Amstel, as well as the being removed as the host of The American Express.