Last week Phil Mickelson told reporters at the Farmers Insurance Open that he was “intrigued” by the idea of an alternative tour but that he didn’t know enough about the concept to comment publicly.
Mickelson should be better educated now.
According to a report by The Scotsman, Mickelson played in the Saudi International pro-am Wednesday with three key figures in the upstart Premier Golf League. Those men, according to The Scotsman report: Majed Al-Sorour, CEO of the Saudi Golf Federation; sports consultant Colin Neville, who works for The Raine Group, a New York-based investment and advisory firm; and financier Andrew Gardiner, a director at Barclays Capital. Also accompanying the group was a man whom The Scotsman identified only as “Richard.”
Talking to reporters afterward, Mickelson said he was “impressed” with the proposal, according to The Scotsman’s report. “It was fascinating to talk with them and ask some questions and see what their plans are. Where they started, how they started, why and just got their background, which was very interesting.
“I haven’t had the chance to put it all together and think about what I want to say about it publicly, but I do think it was an informative day for me to have the chance to spend time with them.”
With a projected launch in 2022 or 2023, the Premier Golf League plans to offer large purses in 18 worldwide events for the top 48 players. There also would be a season-long team component.
Earlier this week, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan sent a memo to Tour players to warn that they will not be allowed to be a member of both the Tour and the Premier Golf League.
After missing the cut last week at Torrey Pines, Mickelson said that he was “curious” about the potential alternative tour and “hoped to learn more.”
On Wednesday, he told reporters, according to The Scotsman: “I asked a lot of questions today and there are some very interesting ideas and it seems very well put together. I think a huge aspect of it is about the fans. Before I formulate an opinion, I’ll look at whether or not this is a good thing for fans, is this a good thing for sponsors, and is it going to be good for television? How does it affect all those involved?”
Mickelson is one of a handful of Americans who made the trip to Saudi Arabia for the second annual event, joining world No. 1 Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and former Masters champion Patrick Reed.