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Phil Mickelson responds to open letter from 9/11 widow after being accused of ‘betrayal of all your countrymen’ over LIV

, Phil Mickelson responds to open letter from 9/11 widow after being accused of ‘betrayal of all your countrymen’ over LIV

PHIL MICKELSON has responded to an open letter from a 9/11 widow which was sent to all American golfers who joined LIV.

The six-time Major champion was one of the star names at the Saudi-backed series which kicked off in London this week.

Phil Mickelson responded to an open letter about 9/11
Phil Mickelson joined the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series which kicked off in London last week

Mickelson, Johnson and Co were sent a letter by Terry Strada – who lost her husband in the horrific 9/11 attack.

Mickelson was answering questions ahead of the US Open in Brookline, Massachusetts this week.

He looked embarrassed when he was asked for his reactions to the open letter from a US terrorist survivors group,

The letter read: “Given Saudi Arabia’s role in the death of our loved ones and those injured on 9/11 — your fellow Americans — we are angered that you are so willing to help the Saudis cover up this history in their request for ‘respectability’.

“When you partner with the Saudis, you become complicit with their whitewash, and help give them the reputational cover they so desperately crave — and are willing to pay handsomely to manufacture.

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“The Saudis do not care about the deep-rooted sportsmanship of golf or its origins as a gentleman’s game built upon core values of mutual respect and personal integrity.

“They care about using professional golf to whitewash their reputation, and they are paying you to help them do it.”

The Saudi government have insisted that any allegation they were complicit in the attacks is ‘categorically false’.

And Mickelson said on Monday: “I would say to the Strada family, I would say to everyone that has lost loved ones, lost friends on 9/11, that I have deep deep empathy and sympathy for them.

“I can’t emphasise that enough, and I think I speak for all Americans in that regard.”

Mickelson is desperate to avoid a confrontation with Rory McIlroy, who took another swipe at LIV paymaster Greg Norman after his Canadian Open triumph.

McIlroy has been the most outspoken critic of the LIV money grab, and said his 21st PGA Tour victory in Toronto carried extra significance because it took him one clear of Norman.

McIlroy has also become the PGA Tour’s chief cheerleader, warning the rebels that being totally obsessed by money rarely works out well.

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But as he prepared for this week’s US Open, an uncomfortable-looking Mickelson – who was paid around £150million to sign up with the Saudi Arabia-back LIV – was in no mood to take Rory on.

Mickelson commented: “I certainly respect Rory. I respect his ideas and thoughts, and I thought what a great finish by him, and a great accomplishment to win again in the manner he did.

“What a career he has had. I certainly respect him – I respect all the players that choose to stay on the PGA Tour.

“I think extremely highly of many of the players on the PGA Tour, and their right to their own decisions.

“I know that many people – players and fans – have strong opinions, emotions about my choice to go forward with LIV Golf. I understand, and I respect that.

“I’m incredibly grateful for the PGA Tour and the many opportunities it has provided me through the years. But I am excited about this new opportunity as well.

“I’ve been a part of the PGA Tour now for 30-plus years, and I have enjoyed my time. I’ve enjoyed the opportunities it’s provided. I’ve enjoyed the lifestyle it’s provided, and how much it’s given to me and my family.

“But I’ve worked really hard behind the scenes as well as on the scenes to try to contribute as a way of showing my appreciation, and I’ve done the best I can to give back to it as well.

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“And after working hard to achieve lifetime membership of the Tour, I feel I’ve earned the right to choose where and when to play. And I’m excited about the opportunity that LIV Golf presents for me and the game of golf going forward.

“It is well documented that the LIV golfers are currently banned from the PGA Tour. But I would hope that going forward I would have the opportunity to play those events again, if I so choose.”




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