Phil Mickelson out as host of PGA event as fallout over Saudi comments continues: report

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LOS ANGELES — Phil Mickelson will no longer host the American Express PGA Tour tournament in La Quinta, Calif., following fallout from his comments about a Saudi-backed league proposal, the Desert reported Saturday. Sun.

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

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

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

“They’re scary…to get involved,” Michelson said in a November interview posted on firepitcollective.com earlier this month.

“We know they killed (journalist Jamal) Khashoggi and they have a horrible human rights record. They execute people there because they are gay.

“Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it?” Because this is a unique opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour works,” Mickelson said.

The Saudi government denies accusations of human rights violations.

Mickelson’s comments, which he said were off the record, prompted an immediate reaction from golfers including Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas.

In a lengthy statement Tuesday, Mickelson apologized to the “visionaries” at Super Golf League backer LIV Golf Investments for his “reckless” comments and reiterated that he believes the PGA Tour needs of a fundamental change.

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The 51-year-old American added that he plans to take a break from sports.

Mickelson parted ways with a number of sponsors, including accounting firm KPMG and software company Workday following the controversy.

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

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