Phil Mickelson out as The American Express host after Callaway, Workday, Amstel stop sponsorship
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Phil Mickelson out as The American Express host after Callaway, Workday, Amstel stop sponsorship

LA QUINTA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 17: Phil Mickelson tees off on the 17th hole during the second round of The American Express tournament at the Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West on January 17, 2020 in La Quinta, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson is out as the host of the PGA Tour's The American Express event, furthering the cascading consequences that have impacted the six-time major winner after trying to spearhead a player breakaway to a proposed Saudi-backed golf league.

The Desert Sun first reported the news.

Mickelson has been host of the event since 2020, though he has been described as a faceless host of the first PGA Tour event of the calendar year held in the mainland United States. The reigning PGA champion did not hold a pre-tournament news conference ahead of this year's event, and he has been reluctant to step into a visible role as the public face of the event.

Mickelson's foundation, which was created in 2019 specifically for benefiting from this event, is also out as the primary charitable beneficiary of the tournament. The Sun reports the original contract with the Mickleson Foundation was to run through 2024.

The 45-time PGA Tour winner has played in the tournament 19 times in his career, winning twice. Though Mickelson has not been visible in community events around the tournament, the event's field strength did improve slightly in the years he has been involved compared to the prior three years. That's in large part thanks to Jon Rahm, a past winner of the event who has become a fixture in the top five in the world.

This is the latest blow to Mickelson's portfolio and reputation in the 10 days, since comments Mickelson made in an interview with journalist Alan Shipnuck in a November interview became public. Mickelson called the Saudi golf concept's backers "scary motherf---ers" and suggested he wasn't certain he wanted the breakaway concept to succeed so much as to force the PGA Tour to change how it does business and distributes money in its coffers to players.

Several of Mickelson's sponsors have ended their relationship with the left-handed player, including beer-maker Amstel and consulting firms KPMG and Workday (which will let an existing deal with him expire). Callaway Golf, with which Mickelson has a lifetime contract, has "paused" their relationship with Mickelson and may resume it pending review.

Mickelson continues to have relationships with companies like Mizzen and Main, Coffee for Wellness and Melin, in which he owns a stake.

This all despite Mickelson offering a lengthy statement on Feb. 22 in which he expressed a degree of remorse for his comments to Shipnuck and in another Golf Digest interview in which he said the PGA Tour was guilty of "obnoxious greed."

"My actions throughout this process have always been with the best interest of golf, my peers, sponsors, and fans," Mickelson said in his statement earlier this week. "I used words I sincerely regret that do not reflect my true feelings or intentions. It was reckless, I offended people, and I am deeply sorry for my choice of words."

Mickelson said in the statement that he will take an unspecified break away from the game, in part, to become the "man [he wants] to be."

As for The American Express event, the tournament will need to identify and contract with a new host organization, a non-profit formed specifically to hold the event. AmEx has signed on as title sponsor of the tournament through 2028.

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

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