Callaway Golf, a maker of golf balls, clubs, footwear, and several other types of golf accessories, decided to pause its 17-year relationship with Mickelson after he played in the league despite the Arab nation's “horrible record on human rights.”
“Callaway does not condone Phil Mickelson's comments and we were very disappointed in his choice of words – they in no way reflect our values or what we stand for as a company,” Callaway said in a statement. “Phil has since apologized and we know he regrets how he handled recent events. We recognize his desire to take some time away from the game and respect that decision. At this time, we have agreed to pause our partnership and will re-evaluate our ongoing relationship at a later date.”
In an excerpt from an upcoming biography made public last week, Mickelson discussed his decision to become involved in a new Saudi-backed golf league.
“They killed [Washington Post reporter Jamal] Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights,” Mickelson told the biographical author in an interview, ESPN reports. “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.”
Mickelson also told the author that the PGA likes to “pretend it's a democracy, but it's really a dictatorship.'
The PGA champ apologized for his remarks in a statement posted to Twitter.
“Although it doesn't look this way now given my recent comments, my actions throughout this process have always been with the best interest of golf, my peers, sponsors, and fans,” the golf legend wrote.
A Statement from Phil Mickelson pic.twitter.com/2saaXIxhpu
— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) February 22, 2022
Despite the apology, Mickelson has seen a slew of his sponsors either pause or end their relationship with him over the comments, most notably longtime partner KPMG.
Phil Mickelson stands on the 11th hole during the second round of The Farmers Insurance Open on the North Course at Torrey Pines Golf Course on January 27, 2022 in La Jolla, California. (Donald Miralle/Getty Images)</
“It was reckless, I offended people, and I am deeply sorry for my choice of words,” Mickelson said in his statement. “I'm beyond disappointed and will make every effort to self-reflect and learn from this.
“My intent was never to hurt anyone and I'm so sorry to the people I have negatively impacted. This has always been about supporting the players and the game and I appreciate all the people who have given me the benefit of the doubt.”
Mickelson has indicated a desire to step away from the game amid the controversy over the comments.