Multiple sponsors have cut ties with golfer Phil Mickelson after comments he made about the Saudis and a potential golf superleague were shared by golf writer Alan Shipnuck.
Accounting giant KPMG and Amstel Light beer have ended their endorsement partnerships with Mickelson.
“KPMG U.S. and Phil Mickelson have mutually agreed to end our sponsorship effective immediately,” said KPMG’s company-issued statement. “We wish him the best.”
Similarly, Amstel parent Heineken
told Sportico on Tuesday, “we made the decision to go our separate ways and end Amstel Light’s partnership with Phil Mickelson. We wish him all the best.”
Perhaps these brands took issue with some of the comments Mickelson made to Shipnuck while talking about the Saudis financing a proposed breakaway golf league. He called them “scary mother [expletives].” He also told Shipnuck, who is writing a biography on Mickelson due out in May, that it was worth getting in bed with the Saudis, despite their history of human-rights abuses, if it meant a chance to change the PGA Tour.
“We know they killed [Washington Post columnist Jamal] Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights. They execute people over there for being gay,” he said. “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.”
Phil Mickelson apologized Tuesday and said his comments were off the record and not meant to be shared publicly.
“I’m beyond disappointed and will make every effort to self-reflect and learn from this,” he said.
Mickelson was the 29th highest paid athlete of any gender in any sport in 2021, with total earnings of $41 million according to Forbes.
His salary and tournament winnings accounted for $1 million of his 2021 earnings, while sponsors accounted for the remaining $40 million. He currently still has sponsorship deals with Amgen, Callaway Golf, Grayhawk Golf Club, Intrepid Financial Partners, Rolex, VistaJet and Workday
The golfer has brought controversy upon himself in the past, as well. In 2016, the SEC said that Mickelson used an alleged tip he received from gambler William “Billy” Walters to buy shares of Dean Foods US:DF. Mickelson bought a $2.4 million position in three accounts he controlled. Mickelson made a profit of approximately $931,000 from the stock, which he held for about a week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.