Phil Mickelson’s ears must be on fire, right?
Six-time PGA Tour winner and 2014 FedEx Cup champion Billy Horschel weighed in a day after Rory McIlroy slammed Phil Mickelson for comments he made against the proposed Saudi Arabia-backed, Greg Norman-led Super Golf League.
Horschel offered some kind words for Mickelson, who had only been riding a wave of acclaim for nine months after becoming the oldest winner of a major title at the PGA. Horschel, who is a member of the Tour’s Player Advisory Council, claimed Mickelson’s character and legacy have been harmed, and his Ryder Cup captaincy may be in jeopardy, in an interview with Matt Adams on the Fairways of Life golf show on Monday.
“Let me put it like this. Horschel described Mickelson’s claims to Alan Shipnuck of the Firepit Collective, author of the soon-to-be-released book “Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar,” as “a little bit silly.” Mickelson told Shipnuck that he was one of the architects of the proposed Saudi Arabia league, and that he hoped to use the league’s massive prize pool as leverage against the PGA Tour. Despite the fact that he told Shipnuck, “They’re terrible motherf—–s to get involved with,” he added of Saudi Arabia’s regime, which has been heavily condemned for its human rights record. “I’m not sure I want (the SGL) to succeed, but the idea of it allowing us to get things done with the (PGA) Tour is appealing.”
Mickelson told Golf Digest earlier this year that the PGA Tour’s “greed” was “beyond annoying.”
“Some of (Mickelson’s) statements are falsehoods or false. Horschel replied, “I don’t know where he got his information from.” “It’s incredible that he would say things like that since he knows how the PGA Tour operates.” He is completely lying when he says things like insufferable greed and the PGA Tour is worth $20 billion, among other things.
“I may not see all of the numbers that a Player Director sees in board meetings, but I see enough to understand how the money is spent.” And it’s being used according to the PGA Tour’s instructions.
“It’s unfortunate because Phil has been such a fantastic advocate for golf, and I honestly believe he’s spoiling his legacy and damaging his reputation a little bit.”
Mickelson, who has played in 12 editions of the biannual clash between the United States and Europe and served as vice captain in the Americans’ rout in 2021, has long been touted to be the Ryder Cup captain in 2025 at Bethpage Black in New York.
Horschel, who has never competed in a Ryder Cup, believes it is at risk.
“The PGA of America and the past captains will make that decision.” If that decision had to be made now, if the Ryder Cup was held at Bethpage next year, I’d be surprised if he got that slot,” Horschel said. “I imagine they’d say something like, ‘We can’t go down that road.'” But we’re still three years away. Things can be fixed; people may recognize their mistakes and do things correctly in the future.
“Hopefully, if he wants to be a Ryder Cup captain, there’s a chance for him to sort of remedy whatever that’s injured him.”