Phil Mickelson is one of the many PGA Tour players linked to a still murkily defined breakaway golf league financed by the Saudi royal family. The Saudis, who love to use big-time sports as a way to get the Western public to associate them with people they like from the TV and not horrifying repression, reportedly have commitments from 20 players and will announce the new league this week, which will begin the same week of the PGA Players Championship. That report comes courtesy of golf writer Alan Shipnuck, who also published an excerpt from his forthcoming book about Mickelson on Thursday, in which the golfer gets into why he is siding with the Saudis.
Strap the hell in for this one:
“They’re scary motherfuckers to get involved with,” he said. “We know they killed [Washington Post reporter Jamal] Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights. They execute people over there for being gay. Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates."
Word? "The Tour likes to pretend it’s a democracy, but it’s really a dictatorship," Mickelson told Shipnuck, completing the groundwork for the most ironclad of rhetorical defenses: to defeat a dictator, you must become a dictator, or, barring that possibility, accept one's cash. Check and mate.