Pat Perez on how Phil Mickelson mismanaged his Saudi golf dealings
Despite not playing competitive golf since January, Phil Mickelson has been in the news plenty. The five-time major champ has been heavily criticized for comments he made regarding both the proposed Saudi-funded super league and the PGA Tour.
Since then, the fallout for Mickelson has been considerable. Some sponsors discontinued or paused their relationship with him, and many of golf’s biggest stars publicly condemned him.
Three-time PGA Tour winner Pat Perez, who is known for his candor, was among the players who spoke out about the controversy, by way of a colorful press conference at the Genesis Invitational two weeks ago. On this week’s episode of Subpar with co-hosts Drew Stoltz and Colt Knost, Perez expounded on his thoughts about the Mickelson controversy, saying that with a more diplomatic approach Mickelson might have had more success with the Saudi league.
“He could have done this in such a different way,” Perez said. “He could have gone, ‘You know what, I made a fortune on the PGA Tour, God bless the PGA Tour for taking care of me and giving me a place and this and that, but I feel like I want to go down this other route to kind of close out my career. Thank you everybody, it’s been phenomenal. But you know what, thank you Jay [Monahan] and everybody else and Tim Finchem and all these other guys from the PGA Tour, but I think I’m going to go down this route. Goodbye.’ That would have been very easy.”
Mickelson said the Saudi league provided leverage to reshape the Tour, but Perez said Mickelson’s motivation was his own financial gain, not for the good of his fellow players.
“If he was actually trying to help the players and this and that, he did it completely wrong,” Perez said. “I don’t know how he could have done it more wrong. You are not leveraging to use the Saudi group to get us more money. You are trying to fill your pockets; you were trying behind everyone’s back to get players to sign so you could get your big golden paycheck in the end and then take off.”
One of the biggest criticisms of Mickelson came from Rory McIlroy, who called his comments “naive, selfish, egotistical and ignorant.”
“When you call basically the second-highest name in my generation, you call him egotistical and this kind of stuff, that’s a big blow,” Perez said. “And I’m proud of it and these other players for doing that, because Phil was not working for them, whether they believe it or not.”
You can listen to the entire Subpar episode below, in which Perez talks more about Mickelson, Jon Rahm’s longevity, the PGA Tour Champions and more.