Mickelson Exploring Options, Slams Tour’s “Obnoxious Greed” in Bombshell Interview

Could Phil Mickelson’s PGA Tour career be closer to ending than previously thought? 

In a new bombshell interview given to Golf Digest, the 45-time winner slammed the PGA Tour over its “Obnoxious Greed,” and explained that he is exploring other options. 

The other options are namely the Saudi-backed Super Golf League.

Phil Mickelson PHOTO: PGA Tour/Getty Images

Mickelson is one of many players currently taking part in the Saudi International Tournament.

As Bob Harig explained to GolfNewsRI, Tour players don’t have access to their media rights (photos, videos, etc.. ), and that is among the things that has Mickelson upset. 

“There are many issues, but that is one of the biggest. For me personally, it’s not enough that they are sitting on hundreds of millions of digital moments. They also have access to my shots, access I do not have. They also charge companies to use shots I have hit. And 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,” Mickelson told Golf Digest. 

Mickelson continued, “My ultimate loyalty is to the game of golf and what it has given me. I am so appreciative of the life it has provided. I don’t know what is going to happen. I don’t know where things are headed. But I know I will be criticized. That’s not my concern. All that would do is dumb down one of the most intricate issues in sports. It would be so naive to not factor in all of the complexities. The media rights are but a small fraction of everything else. And it is the tour’s obnoxious greed that has really opened the door for opportunities elsewhere.”

According to Golf Digest, the PGA Tour has declined to comment. 

As GolfNewsRI reported, back in November, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan sent a memo to players saying that 85 percent of the revenue is tournament related (sponsors or domestic and international media.) 

Monahan also added that 55 percent of the tour’s 2021 revenue will go back to the players. 

This, along with the Player Impact Program (PIP) is all in response to the Saudi-backed Super Golf League and the money that they are offering to pay players. 

Mickelson’s Solutions 

Of course, Phil has some solutions. 

“Why hasn’t golf had cameras and microphones on players and caddies?Because the player would not benefit, only the tour [so players resist wearing them]. Take this Netflix project that is underway. None of the players are getting paid. But the tour is getting paid a lot of money. As is Augusta National. As is the USGA. But if the players had their own channel, maybe they put up their own content and we start to see golf presented a bit more intimately,” Mickelson told Golf Digest.

As GolfNewsRI reported, Netflix began taping their docuseries last week at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

They will be taping throughout every tournament this season. Mickelson will not be part of the documentary.

He adds, “If I had access to my own channel and access to my own media, I would have a camera and microphone on my hat,” he went on. “And on my [caddie] brother’s hat. And on my golf bag with a 360 view. And I would bring the viewers in. They would see and hear what is going on. But none of that happens [currently] because why would any player do that? To make more millions for the tour? They already make enough. The tour only understands leverage. And now the players are getting some of that. So things are changing and will continue to change. I just hope the leverage doesn’t go away. If it does, we’ll be back to the status quo.”

This week promised to be interesting and full of content with the Saudi International going on, and it certainly is shaping up to be that. 

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