Phil Mickelson let it rip over in Saudi Arabi. And not on the tee. The 51-year-old superstar was interviewed by Golf Digest’s John Huggan, and opened up about his beef with the PGA Tour’s media rights policy, which he labeled “obnoxious greed.”
“It’s not public knowledge, all that goes on,” Mickelson told Huggan. “But the players don’t have access to their own media.
“If the tour wanted to end any threat [from upstart tours], they could just hand back the media rights to the players. But they would rather throw $25 million here and $40 million there than give back the roughly $20 billion in digital assets they control. Or give up access to the $50-plus million they make every year on their own media channel.
“There are many issues, but that is one of the biggest. For me personally, it’s not enough that they are sitting on hundreds of millions of digital moments. They also have access to my shots, access I do not have. They also charge companies to use shots I have hit.”
According to Mickelson, when he competed in The (made-for-TV) Match, the PGA Tour “forced” him “to pay them $1 million each time.”
“For my own media rights,” he continued. “That type of greed is, to me, beyond obnoxious.”
During his press conference, ahead of the Saudi International, Mickelson confirmed he’d been pitched on joining the Saudi super league.
“Pretty much every player that is in the top 100 I would say in the World Ranking has been contacted at some point,” continued Mickelson, “absolutely.”
Mickelson is aware he’ll be criticized for his comments, but said he was not concerned.
“I’m not sure how this is going to play out,” said Mickelson. “My ultimate loyalty is to the game of golf and what it has given me. I am so appreciative of the life it has provided.
“I don’t know what is going to happen. I don’t know where things are headed. But I know I will be criticized. That’s not my concern. All that would do is dumb down one of the most intricate issues in sports. It would be so naive to not factor in all of the complexities.
“The media rights are but a small fraction of everything else. And it is the tour’s obnoxious greed that has really opened the door for opportunities elsewhere.”
Read the full story at Golf Digest.