Was this Phil Mickelson tweet about Rory McIlroy sarcastic? He says not

Phil Mickelson of USA talks to the media during a practice round prior to the PIF Saudi International at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club on January 31, 2023 in Al Murooj, Saudi Arabia.

Phil Mickelson sent out some interesting Tweets about the Hero Dubai Desert Classic.

Getty Images/Graphic: Darren Riehl

Phil Mickelson got back on Twitter this week and it’s been … interesting, to say the least.

He even tweeted about the drama unfolding on the DP World Tour this week between Rory McIlroy and Mickelson’s fellow LIV golfer Patrick Reed.

If it felt weird that Mickelson was promoting an event other than a LIV Golf tournament, or pushing people to watch Golf Channel, which is obviously a rights holder of the PGA Tour, that’s because it was.

Mickelson’s Twitter had largely been dormant the past year, as the dust settled from his comments on the Saudi Arabian government, his subsequent jump to LIV Golf and the ensuing lawsuit that came with it. He dropped out of the lawsuit in September and ever since LIV’s debut season ended in November, he’s slowly returned to more colorful posting on the site, rather than just sharing highlights from LIV Golf.

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Yet still, promoting a different event altogether still seemed odd, which begged the question: Was he being sarcastic?

Turns out, Mickelson was pretty genuine, he said.

“I thought the final round was incredible,” Mickelson said Tuesday ahead of the PIF Saudi International. “Both players played some great golf. Patrick played an incredible final round, and Rory didn’t really have his best stuff throughout the day, but he fought hard for the last two to win, and I think that shows a lot about the kind of champion and player he is.”

He called the controversy stirred up by McIlroy and Reed’s “Teegate” incident earlier in the week, and then Reed’s tree drop ruling on Sunday, “a really good thing.”

“When you have characters in the game, when you have controversy in the game, I think it creates a lot more excitement, a lot more awareness,” he said. “What transpired early in the week with Patrick and Rory added to the excitement level.”

Mickelson has been no stranger to controversy over the past year, between his Saudia Arabia comments and subsequent defection to LIV. And according to Mickelson, all press is good press.

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“I thought it was great for the game to have that type of interest, and it’s been interest throughout the globe,” he said.

Mickelson has not teed it up in DP World Tour events since joining LIV Golf as Reed, Ian Poulter and others have while their suspensions are being settled in a UK court case. That case is set to be decided sometime next month, and Mickelson said that will be an even bigger boost to the controversy factor in later DP World Tour events.

“I expect that the players, the LIV players will win their case in the UK, and we’ll open the doors for all players to play on the European Tour,” he said. “There’s a very good chance that you’ll have more showdowns, more head-to-head competitions like you saw last week in Dubai, and I think that would be a really good thing for the game.”


Jack Hirsh

Golf.com Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at jack.hirsh@golf.com.



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