Phil Mickelson, after his first round at the Saudi International on Thursday, was involved in a heated and, at one point, insensitive conversation on Twitter over a comment involving the PGA Tour and LIV Golf.
Mickelson, the six-time major champion who has been one of the faces of nearly year-old, Saudi-backed LIV, first replied to a comment suggesting LIV play a team event with the PGA Tour, where Mickelson had played. His tweet then drew over 600 responses as of Thursday night, and Mickelson answered 14 across a multiple-hour span.
At 10:02 a.m. ET., the conversation began when Twitter account Flushing It wrote, “If there was a LIV v PGA Tour team event right now in a Ryder Cup format with Phil and Tiger as captains, it would be the most watched golf event in history.” Danny Woodhead, a former NFL running back, then replied in support, and Mickelson responded about an hour and a half after the original tweet, at 7:45 p.m. in Saudi Arabia.
“It sounds great,” Mickelson wrote, “but we would dominate them so soundly and it would be over so quick that tv would have to fill an hour of dead time. That’s why it’s not happening at this time”
That drew the hundreds of responses, including the 14 from Mickelson. Below is the complete exchange, in order of time of Twitter user reply. (Editor’s note: The tweets are unedited and, at one point, insensitive.)
1. Twitter user at 11:46 a.m.: “LIV has 6 of the top 100 players in the world. The PGA tour has the other 94.”
Mickelson at 2:02 p.m.: “That’s a good one. That’s probably because the head of golf’s governing bodies run the owgr and have colluded to exclude LIV players from getting points. I’m not a fake media believer but if I was, this would be the perfect example.”
2. Twitter user at 11:54 a.m.: “”Are you trying to taunt them into doing it or something? You’re only hurting yourself by highlighting how ridiculous the idea of LIV guys dominating PGAT guys sounds. Literally can’t tell if you’re trying to make a joke about how badly LIV would lose.”
Mickelson at 11:55 a.m.: “Your sense of humor is stiffer than an Aureus collar”
3. Twitter user at 12:08 p.m.: “Do you still play golf Phil?”
Mickelson at 12:14 p.m.: “Ma’am, we are speaking guy talk. This isn’t directed towards you”
4. Twitter user at 12:09 p.m.: “Like tiger dominated you”
Mickelson at 12:11 p.m.: “Thank him for the 9 mil when you speak to him.”
5. Twitter user at 12:51 p.m., in response to the above tweet: “Imagine talking this much shit about someone who literally put you in a shadow for the majority of your career. Phil’s the definition of you used to be cool.”
Mickelson at 12:55 p.m.: “Thank you Skoal I didn’t know I ever was cool”
6. Twitter user at 12:18 p.m.: “It’s not happening because no one likes Phil. Blood on his hands. He should renounce his citizenship and move to Saudi Arabia.”
Mickelson at 12:22 p.m.: “You’re so funny and witty Derek. Have you ever tried stand up?”
7. Twitter user at 12:24 p.m.: “@McIlroyRory @JustinThomas34 @TigerWoods @JordanSpieth @RickieFowler @maxhoma23 I think these guys would have something to say about this.”
Mickelson at 12:27 p.m.: “They do seem to talk a lot.”
8. Twitter user at 12:29 p.m.: “@TigerWoods come on man. Let’s make it happen”
Mickelson at 12:31 p.m.: “Tell him he can use a cart”
9. Twitter user at 12:41 p.m.: “Why? Why have you become such a [clown emoji]? Maybe you always were & we just never knew it.”
Mickelson at 12:47 p.m.: “Coulrophobic I see”
10. Twitter user at 1:01 p.m.: “You an ass! I hope you get booed off the playing grounds. Boos are free!”
Mickelson at 1:04 p.m.: “I see your sense of humor lived in your hair”
11. Twitter user at 1:42 p.m.: “Phil you been putting too much “good stuff” in your coffee my guy”
Mickelson at 1:44 p.m.: “That’s simply not possible”
12. Twitter user at 1:54 p.m.: “Phil = the ultimate sh&t talker trying to make it happen. I see what you did there @PhilMickelson”
Mickelson at 1:56 p.m.: “Jeff, you seem to be the only one.”
13. Twitter user at 2:02 p.m.: “Man you so lame and insecure these days, you know what they say: “Money doesn’t change you, it just makes you more of what you are””
Mickelson at 2:03 p.m.: “thank you”
14. Twitter user at 6:51 p.m.: “How do you say that Phil since the inception of LIV no LIV player has won a thing in a regular tour event. You’ve lost your mind.”
Mickelson at 7:44 p.m.: “I’m guessing that’s cuz we’ve been suspended and haven’t been allowed to play a regular tour event”
The exchange comes after a controversial year for Mickelson. Nearly a year ago, he had spoken controversially about the Saudi backers of LIV, apologized and went into exile, before playing in all eight of LIV’s events, along with the U.S. Open and the Open Championship. Mickelson had also significantly cut back his once-frequent social media use, only to return to a degree over the past couple of weeks.
Ahead of the Saudi International, which is backed by same group that supports LIV Golf, he was asked about his recent increase, and this is the complete exchange:
Question: “Can I ask you about your social media engagement; we’re so happy that you’re back on it. What I really find interesting is that you are perhaps one of the players who just doesn’t post one and forget about it. I think you do make an effort to go through the comments and reply to the comments. Can you just tell me about your social media philosophy, and will we be able to see you full time on it?
Mickelson: “I’ve had a lot of fun with it over the years, and this last year, I’ve kind of gone dark, if you will, and rightfully so. I have to be very careful; I can’t say all the things I want to say yet. But many this year I’ll be able to. I’ll have that freedom when some of these things going on off the course get settled and become more transparent. I have to be a little bit guarded right now, but later this year, when things are much more transparent, I’ll be able to be more engaging.
“But on areas that I’m able to be, I guess, more engaging, where it’s not going to cause problems with some of the things that are going on off the course, then I’m going to try to do that, because I enjoy it. I think it’s fun. I’ve always enjoyed having fun.
“But there’s a little bit of a transition, and I knew that this was going to happen for the first couple of years, that I’ll have to be — want to be sensitive and careful and a little bit guarded. But I’m looking forward to being a little more engaging, as well.”
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