LOS ANGELES (AFP) — Phil “Lefty” Mickelson says he will be “at peace” if he never plays in a PGA Tour event or Ryder Cup again, nearly one year after his explosive remarks about the Saudi-funded LIV golf series triggered uproar.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated published on Monday, the six-time major winner said he was not bothered about the possibility of being frozen out of PGA Tour events for good.
Mickelson was suspended by the PGA Tour last year after being one of the earliest big names to defect to the controversial LIV circuit.
The 52-year-old embraced LIV despite telling a US journalist that the circuit’s Saudi backers were “scary” with a “horrible” human rights record.
Mickelson said in June last year he hoped to play on the PGA Tour again.
However in his remarks to Sports Illustrated, the veteran said he was now indifferent to playing on the circuit again.
“If I were never to play another PGA Tour event, I’m totally at peace with it,” Mickelson said.
The American said that while he believes pending litigation against the PGA Tour may allow him to legally return to the circuit, he planned to “scale down” his number of events while prioritising majors.
“I’m motivated, but I don’t see the benefit to playing more,” the 45-time PGA Tour winner said.
“The tournaments where you are going to leave a mark are the majors. That creates a life memory. If I win another Tour event, who cares? It’s not like it’s going to do anything for how I look at my career.
“Another major would be a unique, special moment. That’s really where I want to thrive. And sure, it would mean a lot to win some LIV events because of the role I’ve played as it’s been created.”
Mickelson, once seen as a virtual certainty to be a US Ryder Cup captain at some point, also said he would be fine not being part of the biennial team tournament again.
“I’ve loved being part of the Ryder Cup as a player 12 times and as a vice captain once,” Mickelson said.
“I’ve had more great experiences than probably anybody. If I’m not a part of it, I’m at peace with that as well.”
Mickelson meanwhile agreed there could be an uneasy atmosphere at the Champions Dinner at the Masters in April, where staunch critics of LIV Golf including Tiger Woods will dine alongside some of the upstart circuit’s biggest names.
Asked if he anticipated awkwardness or unpleasantness at the dinner, Mickelson added: “There very well could be, but not on my part. I’m very comfortable with where I’m at.”