Phil Mickelson admits to “mistakes” after quotes revealing his true feelings about Saudi Golf League

The six-time Major Championship winner said: “My comments don’t reflect my true feelings and I apologize.”

Phil Mickelson has announced he will take a break from golf as he comes to terms with the continuing fall out from his explosive comments about Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Golf League and his use of both as leverage in a dispute with the PGA Tour.

Last week Alan Shipnuck of The Firepit Collective released an article detailing a conversation the former had with Mickelson relating to his forthcoming biography of the six-time Major Championship winner.

Mickelson was quoted saying the Saudi's were "scary motherf**kers to be involved with", was dismissive of their human right records and explained that, despite knowing this, the SGL is "a once in a lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates".

Mickelson loves to talk of hitting bombs; this particular bomb landed last November, when the two men talked, and lay unexploded until Shipnuck gave it a nudge. The delayed impact was immediate and none of it good for Mickelson.

What on earth did Greg Norman, who leads the Saudi Golf League, make of being revealed as something akin to Mickelson's monkey? What did the Saudis think of an ally admitting he thinks of them no better than their loudest critics?

And what of his fellow players? Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau, both set to join him in the breakaway venture, quickly abandoned ship.

Others, who had always been distinctly queasy about the project, were appalled.

Justin Thomas is known to have been particularly upset and said: "Seems like a bit of a pretty, you know, egotistical statement."

Rory McIlroy was another who didn't hold back. "I don't want to kick someone while he's down, obviously, but I thought they were naive, selfish, egotistical, ignorant (words)," he told the media after the Genesis Invitational.

"It was just very surprising and disappointing, sad. I'm sure he's sitting at home sort of rethinking his position and where he goes from here."

McIlroy, whose rebuttal of the Saudi offer of millions two years ago looks ever-more sensible, was not just honest and human in his assessment, he was also again somewhat prophetic.

Because Mickelson released a statement Tuesday.

"I used words I sincerely regret that do not reflect my true feelings or intentions," he wrote. "It was reckless, I offended people, and I am deeply sorry for my choice of words. I'm beyond disappointed and will make every effort to self-reflect and learn from this.

"I have made a lot of mistakes in my life and many have been shared with the public. My intent was never to hurt anyone and I'm so sorry to the people I have negatively impacted. This has always been about supporting the players and the game and I appreciate all the people who have given me the benefit of the doubt."

He doubled down on his thoughts about the game, stating "golf desperately needs change" and attempted to reverse the damage done with those he had dealt with saying: "The specific people I have worked with are visionaries and have only been supportive. More importantly they passionately love golf and share my drive to make the game better."

He then concluded: "The past 10 years I have felt the pressure and stress slowly affecting me at a deeper level. I know I have not been my best and desperately need some time away to prioritize the ones I love most and work on being the man I want to be."

He will take time out to get nearer that man, but there maybe more to come. Mickelson is not the only big personality involved in this saga and Shipnuck tweeted soon after the statement's release:

Soon adding:

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