Phil Mickelson found himself on the wrong end of the Twitter ratio on Tuesday when he tweeted praise for his Saudi benefactors for the cash they've put forward to support the men's and women's editions of their Saudi International.
The men's edition of the Saudi International is this week in King Abdullah Economic City, with the tournament kicking off the Asian Tour season as its flagship event and sporting a $5 million purse. Of course, scores of LIV players are competing, and many in the field are being compensated for their appearance well above the stated purse that features a $1 million first-place prize.
Two weeks from now, the Ladies European Tour will play the Aramco Saudi Ladies International on the same Royal Greens venue as the Asian Tour stop, and that event, too will have a $5 million purse. Among the top-tier names committed to competing in the event are Lydia Ko, Lexi Thompson, Atthaya Thitikul, Charley Hull and defending champion Georgia Hall.
Relatively speaking, a $5 million purse is huge on the Ladies European Tour, where standard purses tend to hover around $400,000. Even compared to the LPGA's growing purses, $5 million is still a lot.
Lauding the Saudis for offering this equal prize money, Mickelson said, "Lots of talk about equal pay for men and women in sports and not enough action. Well, Golf Saudi is taking action. In 2 weeks The LET (Ladies European Tour) will be at the same Royal Greens course as the men are this week playing for the same $5 million purse."
The reaction fell pretty starkly against Mickelson, with critics suggesting the Saudis are doing this not as an act of benevolence or a deeply held belief in equal pay for women, but rather as a means of enhancing their reputation. Mickelson ultimately deleted the tweet.