Phil Mickelson got in deep, deep trouble with the PGA Tour in February, earning a suspension from the Ponte Vedra Beach-based organization on which he had played for 30 years. The suspension was due, in part, to comments he made to journalist Alan Shipnuck that were published ahead of the release of Shipnuck's book chronicling Mickelson's career.
In that interview, Mickelson is quoted as saying the Saudis, who back the LIV Golf organization he now plays for, "scary motherf*ckers." He is quoted as admitting to knowing the Saudis government's human-rights abuses and even suggested he didn't necessarily want what we now know as LIV Golf to succeed. Rather, Mickelson wanted to use the Saudis and the Greg Norman-fronted concept to fundamentally change how the PGA Tour does business -- a goal he has pursued at different points throughout his career.
Now, though, Mickelson is seemingly denying semantically about that conversation.
Ahead of LIV Golf's event this week in Saudi Arabia, Mickelson was asked about these comments and his overall experience with LIV.
Interesting moment from Phil's LIV presser in Saudi Arabia. Asked about his previous comments about Saudi, he answers:
"So I will reiterate, I never did an interview with Alan Shipnuck." pic.twitter.com/fLIrlkyJe5
— Dylan Dethier (@dylan_dethier) October 13, 2022
"I will reiterate, I never did an interview with Alan Shipnuck," Mickelson said. "And I find that my experience with everybody associated with LIV Golf has been nothing but incredibly positive and I have the utmost respect for everybody that I've been involved with."
It's not completely if Mickelson is suggesting the conversation never happened or saying that the conversation he had with Shipnuck was an off-the-record affair, which he has previously claimed (and Shipnuck disputed). However, while claiming what he said wasn't on the record, Mickelson did apologize for the published comments back in Feburary 2022.
"There is the problem of off record comments being shared out of context and without my consent, but the bigger issue is that I used words I sincerely regret that do not reflect my true feelings or intentions," he said. "It was reckless, I offended people, and I am deeply sorry for my choice of words. I’m beyond disappointed and will make every effort to self-reflect and learn from this."