Phil Mickelson responds to Tiger Woods’ ‘enormous loan’ comment regarding Tour’s finances

Tiger Woods had a lot to say in his first press conference in four months, and that, in turn, led to a Phil Mickelson appearance.

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Tiger Woods had a lot to say in his first press conference in four months on Tuesday at Albany in the Bahamas, where he’s set to host (but not play in) his Hero World Challenge.

And that, in turn, led to a Phil Mickelson appearance.

In a wide-ranging presser in which Woods discussed his plantar fasciitis that led to him withdrawing from the event, pro golf’s future and his potential schedule for next year, Woods also was questioned about his long-time rival.

Woods was asked if he felt Mickelson deserved an apology from some people, since the PGA Tour has invested mega-millions into purses and incentives in the past year, which could be credited to Mickelson for “shaking that tree.”

Woods didn’t allow the reporter to finish their question.

“No, absolutely not, no,” he said. “We took out an enormous loan during the pandemic in which that, if we had another year of the pandemic, our Tour would only be sustained for another year. So we took out an enormous loan. It worked, it paid off in our benefit, hence we were able to use that money to make the increases that we’ve made.”

Tour commissioner Jay Monahan had previously said the Tour pulled from its reserves during the pandemic. According to Sports Illustrated’s Bob Harig, the Tour reiterated its stance on Tuesday and corrected Woods, saying it did not take out a loan during the pandemic but instead relied on reserves and mitigating actions.

Here’s where Mickelson comes in. Woods’ comments, even though they were clarified by the Tour, contradicts what Mickelson recently said about the Tour’s financial situation. In a February interview with Golf Digest, he said the Tour’s greed is “beyond obnoxious,” and he went deeper on the subject in an interview with The Fire Pit Collective’s Alan Shipnuck that was published a couple of weeks later.

“The Tour is sitting on multiple billions of dollars worth of NFTs,” Mickelson told Shipnuck. “They are sitting on hundreds of millions of dollars worth of digital content we could be using for our social media feeds. The players need to own all of that. We played those shots, we created those moments, we should be the ones to profit. The Tour doesn’t need that money. They are already sitting on an $800 million cash stockpile. How do you think they’re funding the PIP? Or investing $200 million in the European Tour? The Tour is supposed to be a nonprofit that distributes money to charity. How the f— is it legal for them to have that much cash on hand? The answer is, it’s not. But they always want more and more. They have to control everything. Their ego won’t allow them to make the concessions they need to.”

CBS Sports’ Kyle Porter tweeted the difference between Woods and Mickelson’s comments, which Mickelson noticed. He doubled down.

Mickelson, who is among the LIV golfers suspended by the PGA Tour, was the biggest name of 11 original plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit against the Tour, but he withdrew his name in September, roughly two months after it was filed.

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Josh Berhow

Golf.com Editor

Josh Berhow is the managing editor at GOLF.com. The Minnesota native graduated with a journalism degree from Minnesota State University in Mankato. You can reach him at joshua_berhow@golf.com.