Phil Mickelson biographer says PGA Tour has got ‘fat and complacent’ amid rebel Saudi tour

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Alan Shipnuck, the author of Phil Mickelson’s newly released biography – ‘Phil: The Rip-Roaring (And Unauthorized!) Biography Of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar’ – has accused the PGA Tour of becoming ‘fat and complacent’ amid the emergence of the rival Saudi-backed golf league.

The LIV Golf invitational Series led by former world No 1 Greg Norman, and backed by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund has rocked the world of golf in recent months. The controversial circuit has lured the likes of Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau thanks to mega-money offers.

In response the PGA Tour have come down harshly on the Saudi rebels, inflicting suspensions to all those that have made the decision to sign up for the breakaway league. Despite their action, Shipnuck has come down hard on the American-based circuit’s response, claiming the tour has become complacent due to a lack of rivalry at the top of the game.

He told Golf Monthly: “The fact is the PGA Tour has gotten very fat and happy and complacent, because they’ve never had competition really. And this is now serious competition and may force the tour to modernise its product.

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“Better golf courses, more interesting formats, more dynamic TV coverage, really embracing social media, which they’ve always been terrible at.” Shipnuck has been an instrumental figure in the LIV Golf saga, having published Mickelson’s initial damning thoughts on the PGA Tour and the state of Saudi Arabia earlier this year.

Mickelson branded the state of Saudi Arabia as ‘scary motherf*****s’ due to their poor human rights record, but implied he was willing to look past this in order to ‘gain leverage’ over the PGA Tour.

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Mickelson’s ill-worded comments led to him heading into exile, before finally making his return to golf four months later in LIV Golf’s inaugural event last week, after signing a multi-million dollar deal. Whilst LIV’s Saudi backing has been slammed, Shipnuck believes that like many other sports, it will become normalised over time.

He added: “I mean, the Saudi money is dirty, but they bought their way into a lot of sports. And they’re already an accepted stop on the European Tour. The insidious thing about sportswashing is that it works. People may just kind of get over their distaste for the Saudi involvement.”

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