Howard Stern condemned Phil Mickelson and other golf pros who took part in the Saudi-backed LIV Tour for “selling out” to “real pieces of s–t.”
Mickelson, who joined the LIV Tour for a reported $200 million, has become the face of a public relations nightmare triggered by the exodus of top golfers from the PGA Tour to the new startup league backed by a Saudi sovereign wealth fund.
Mickelson and nearly two dozen other golfers have been suspended by the PGA Tour as a result of their decision to join the Saudi-backed startup.
“They’re selling out,” Stern said of Mickelson and other golfers on his SiriusXM show.
Stern’s, whose comments were compiled by the online news site Mediaite, blasted Saudi Arabia for acquiring high-priced athletes for its events in hopes of improving its image in the eyes of foreigners.
“They’re real pieces of sh-t and they got a lot of money so it allows them to be pieces of sh-t on a big level,” Stern said. “Normally, if they didn’t have oil there, you wouldn’t hear from these guys, you’d never know what they believe, they’d be talking to a sheep and a camel.”
Stern added: “But they, unfortunately, have so much money that they can spread their diseased brain power all over the world and now they wanna start a golf tournament, not a tournament, a league.”
Top golfers like Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, and Bryson DeChambeau agreed to take part in the first-ever LIV Tour event last week despite harsh criticism from the families of those who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Mickelson and other golfers have squirmed uncomfortably when asked by reporters about Saudi Arabia’s abysmal human rights record. On his radio show on Monday, Stern played audio of Mickelson’s news conference in which he appeared on the defensive.
“I don’t condone human rights violations. I don’t know how I can be any more clear,” Mickelson said.
“But I’ll put up with it for $200 million,” Stern immediately chimed in.
Mickelson on Monday struggled to answer reporters’ questions during a promotional press conference before the upcoming US Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
The 51-year-old, three-time Masters winner was grilled for nearly half an hour by reporters who peppered him with questions about his defection to the LIV Tour.
One pressing topic Mickelson was asked about was the letter he and the other players involved with LIV Golf received from the group “9/11 Families United’’ denouncing their decisions to align with the Saudis since 15 of the 19 hijackers were from that country.
“I would say to everyone that has lost loved ones, lost friends on 9/11 that I have deep, deep empathy for them,” Mickelson said. “I can’t emphasize that enough.”