Phil Mickelson steps back into the light after months of silence midst his remarks on human rights violations in Saudi Arabia and acknowledges his struggles with gambling addiction.
A Proclamation on Monday confirmed that he is set to join a Saudi-backed LIV Golf. Theories say he is doing so under financial pressure. Reports say that he is earning approximately $200 million for playing a series challenging the PGA tour and attracting criticism for “sportswashing” a Saudi system with an extended record of human rights violations.
A biography published in May also reported that over the span of four years, he incurred a loss of $40 million in gambling.
Mickelson: Gambling was “reckless” and “embarrassing”
Mickelson spoke up about his struggles with gambling addiction and called it “reckless” in an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Bob Harig. He addressed it as an “addiction” but believed it “isn’t a threat” to his finances. He also admits being into therapy to address the matter.
“My gambling got to a point of being reckless and embarrassing," Mickelson told Sports Illustrated. "I had to address it. And I’ve been addressing it for a number of years. And for hundreds of hours of therapy. I feel good where I’m at there. My family and I are and have been financially secure for some time.”
“Gambling has been part of my life ever since I can remember. But about a decade ago is when I would say it became reckless. It’s embarrassing. I don’t like that people know. The fact is I’ve been dealing with it for some time."
Mickelson continuing the PGA Tour
Mickelson to continue playing for this week’s inaugural LIV Golf event in London accompanied by Dustin Johnson, Louis Oosthuizen, Sergio Garcia, Branden Grace, and Charl Schwartzel, the PGA defectors. An ultimatum that floated in last week from tour commissioner Jay Monahan stated that the players will be “subject to disciplinary actions” if they choose to play the Saudi series. It mentions that they aren’t authorized to do so and hence, the ultimatum. This led to the resignation of all the defectors from the PGA tour.
Harig was told by Mickelson that he won’t formally resign from the PGA tour and that he is looking forward to playing next week at the U.S Open organized by USGA. They had announced on Tuesday that they are not barring any players who might have participated in LIV Golf.
Mickelson also confirms that he hasn’t discussed this with the commissioner and has left the decision to Monahan on what “disciplinary actions” might come his way.
Amid the foreground of Saudi Arabia’s human rights violations and the death of Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post reporter, Mickelson challenges PGA in a proclamation made to author Alan Shipnuck that sparked the first backlash in February.
“They’re scary motherf***ers to get involved with,” Mickelson told Shipnuck of Saudi Arabia. "They killed Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights. They execute people over there for being gay. Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it?
“Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates.”