Report: Mickelson accuses PGA Tour of ‘abhorrent greed’ | Sports News


KING ABDULLAH ECONOMIC CITY, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Phil Mickelson says the PGA Tour’s “abhorrent greed” and its ownership of media rights are why players are tempted by rival tour prospects, like the one backed by the Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, Golf Digest reported.

Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson are among 20 PGA Tour members playing at the Saudi international this week for a whopping sum of money.

The tournament is now part of the Asian Tour, which received a $300 million inflow from Greg Norman’s new LIV Golf Investments, which is funded primarily by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

45-time PGA Tour winner Mickelson and DeChambeau have been the two most high-profile players linked to talk of a “super league”. Players such as Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth said they wouldn’t be interested.

In a pre-tournament press conference, Mickelson said competition gives players leverage and the threat of a rival league led the PGA Tour to create a 40-player impact program. million dollars (which he says he won last year) and increases in prize money and the FedEx Cup bonus.

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He later told Golf Digest that players not owning their media rights were what bothered him.

“If the tour wanted to end any threat, they could just return the media rights to the players,” Mickelson told Digest. “But they’d rather throw $25 million here and $40 million there than return the approximately $20 billion worth of digital assets they control. Or give up access to the more than $50 million they earn each year on their own media channel.

He didn’t say where he came from with the $20 billion figure.

The PGA Tour declined to comment. The tour, like other major sports organizations, relies on media rights as its primary source of revenue.

“Media rights are just a small fraction of everything else,” Mickelson said. “And it was the hateful greed of the tour that really opened the door to opportunities elsewhere.”

Mickelson was irritated in 2018 when he set up a win-win exhibition match with Tiger Woods in Las Vegas. It was the first of five matches, and Mickelson said he had to pay the tour $1 million for each one.

“For my own media rights,” Mickelson said. “This type of greed is, to me, beyond abhorrent.”

However, this arrangement has long been the norm for unofficial television events such as the old Skins Game or Monday night matches involving Woods 20 years ago.

Mickelson also mentioned to Golf Digest that someone wanted to use a seven-second clip of a shot he hit pine straw on the 13th green at the 2010 Masters. He said the charge was $30,000. per second each time the clip aired at a total cost of $3.5 million. Augusta National, not the PGA Tour, owns these media rights.

Norman this week announced two of 10 new events offered on the Asian circuit in Thailand and England, the latter taking place a week before the US Open. He didn’t specifically talk about a super league, nor did he announce any players willing to join.

The Daily Mail, without citing sources or terms, reported that DeChambeau had been offered $135 million to join such a league.

“I don’t know how it’s going to pan out,” said Mickelson, the defending PGA champion who turns 52 in June. “My ultimate loyalty is to the game of golf and what it has given me. I’m so grateful for the life it has provided. … I know I will be criticized. That’s not my concern All of this would only silence one of the most complex issues in sport.

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