Phil Mickelson played in the first LIV Golf series event in London this weekend.

Phil Mickelson, Greg Norman, PGA Tour stars take a stand in LIV Golf

Phil Mickelson played in the first LIV Golf series event in London this weekend.

Phil Mickelson is taking a heroic stand in the face of relentless persecution.

Why, just the other day, he teed off in the first LIV Golf series event in London wearing what is, for him, the ultimate form of protest. In a manner of speaking, he burned his bra.

LIV Golf is a rebel league run by Greg Norman and bankrolled by Saudi Arabia’s royal family. It’s quite a bankroll, too. Phil and 17 other sassy, ​​convention-busting renegades — Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed, Ian Poulter, et al. — are guaranteed hundreds of millions of dollars just for showing up at LIV events.

They took the money. They got kicked off the PGA Tour. They took a stand!

Criticism is flying fast and hot, all over the world. These trailblazing sportsmen are being portrayed as money-grubbing co-conspirators of Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, who more or less funds the renegade tour and who has a sorta, kinda sketchy record on human rights. He kinda kills people when it is convenient.

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Phil Mickelson played in the first LIV Golf series event in London this weekend.

The introduction to the Saudi Arabia page at Human Rights Watch goes like this:

Saudi Arabia spends billions of dollars hosting major entertainment, cultural, and sporting events as a deliberate strategy to deflect from the country’s image as a pervasive human rights violator. Scores of human rights activists and dissidents remain in prison or on trial for their peaceful criticism. Authorities failed to hold high-level officials accountable for suspected involvement in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. Through 2021, the Saudi-led coalition continued a military campaign against the Houthi rebel group in Yemen that has included scores of unlawful airstrikes that have killed and wounded thousands of civilians.

What’s a few war crimes? Everyone, just relax.

Phil Mickelson’s position

As Phil said about the Saudi tour months ago in an interview with golf writer Alan Shipnuck, “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. Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it? Because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates.”

It’s not about the money. It’s about the principle of the thing.

When Phil teed off in London, he was wearing a black vest with the Augusta National Golf Club logo on it — and the logo was blacked out (with a Sharpie, it looked like).

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