Phil Mickelson refuses to deny PGA Tour ban following LIV Golf switch

The six-time major winner has not played for four months following controversial comments about the Saudi Arabian-funded events

Mickelson refuses to deny he has been banned by PGA Tour

Phil Mickelson refused to confirm or deny if he has served as PGA Tour ban following controversial comments about the Saudi Arabian-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series.

Mickelson headlines the debut tournament at Centurion Club in St Albans this weekend and faced the media for the first time since confirming his participation.

Mickelson, who previously described the PGA Tour’s approach to player media rights as “obnoxious greed”, would not go into depth on his relationship with the world’s leading professional golf tour.

“I choose not to speak publicly on PGA Tour issues at this time,” confirmed Mickelson, while adding that he is “looking forward” to playing at next week’s US Open after skipping the defence of his PGA Championship and The Masters.

The six-time major champion, who will compete in the 48-strong field at the $25m (£20m) event led by Greg Norman, was also immediately and repeatedly questioned on Saudi Arabia’s human rights.

“I don't condone human rights violations at all,” said 51-year-old.

“I am aware of what happened with Jamal Khashoggi and it's terrible.

“I understand people may disagree with my decision. I see the opportunity LIV Golf has to do a lot of good for the world.

“At this time, this is an opportunity to have the most balance in my life going forward and this will do a lot of good for the game.”

The 2021 PGA Championship champion also discussed his future in the Ryder Cup.

Mickelson said: “Like the PGA Tour, the Ryder has provided so many speciall memories, relationships and friendships, I’m hopeful to be a part of the Ryder Cup going forward, but that’s not the reason to retain my membership, I’ve earned. I believe all players have the right to play whenever and wherever they want.

“I saw that [Dustin Jonson and others resigning from the PGA Tour], I believe they’re making the best decision for their careers. As a lifetime member I don’t have to play 15 events, I don’t have to play any. I don’t see why I should give that up.”

Mickelson also addressed his well-documented issues with gambling, confirming it could have “threatened” the financial health of his family’s future.

“I've had hundreds of hours of therapy,” confirmed Mickelson. “I feel really good where I'm at, I'm proud of the work I've done, I've addressed the issue and will continue to do for the rest of my life.”

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