A relationship we thought would never end came to an end today. At least we won’t feel the need to write “Happy Birthday, Phil Mickelson” posts anymore.
KPMG has had Mickelson’s back even when he was accused of being involved in an insider trading scheme, complained about having rich man tax problems, and fell short all those times at winning the US Open. But KPMG drew the line today after it was reported earlier this month that Phil would support and play in a proposed new Saudi Golf League, which would rival the PGA Tour and be ruled by former world No. 1 ranked golfer Greg Norman, even if the Saudis are “scary motherfuckers to get involved with.” In a soon-to-be-released unauthorized biography of Lefty written by Alan Shipnuck, Mickelson said (a blue KPMG hat tip to The Fire Pit Collective):
We know they killed [Washington Post reporter and US resident Jamal] Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights. They execute people over there for being gay. Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates. They’ve been able to get by with manipulative, coercive, strong-arm tactics because we, the players, had no recourse. As nice a guy as [PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan] comes across as, unless you have leverage, he won’t do what’s right. And the Saudi money has finally given us that leverage. I’m not sure I even want [the SGL] to succeed, but just the idea of it is allowing us to get things done with the [PGA] Tour.
Phil said aligning with the Saudis would be worth the risk if such an allegiance would force the PGA Tour into making financial changes beneficial to him and others. But a bunch of the PGA Tour’s biggest names, including Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, and Bryson DeChambeau, pledged their allegiance to the Tour and said if Phil wants to golf in Saudi Arabia so bad, he can take his clubs and KPMG hat and go golf there. But the SGL is now dead, and so is Mickelson’s sponsorship with KPMG, which began in 2008. In a L-O-N-G statement released today, Mickelson apologized for his “reckless” comments. He also said:
I have incredible partners, and these relationships mean so much more to me than a contract. Many have been my most influential mentors and I consider all of them lifelong friends. The last thing I would ever want to do is compromise them or their business in any way, and I have given all of them the option to pause or end the relationship as I understand it might be necessary given the current circumstances.
A Statement from Phil Mickelson pic.twitter.com/2saaXIxhpu
— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) February 22, 2022
That was all KPMG needed to cut off Phil’s supply of blue, black, and white KPMG hats permanently. According to Golf Channel, KPMG said in a statement this afternoon:
KPMG U.S. and Phil Mickelson have mutually agreed to end our sponsorship effective immediately. We wish him the best.
Phil’s old KPMG hats were not available for comment. And @MickelsonHat is no more:
Oh well. Good luck, Phil. We enjoyed our time writing about your antics in all of their KPMG gloriousness through the years.