Tiger Woods breaks silence on “polarising” Phil Mickelson

Tiger Woods Phil Mickelson

Tiger Woods broke his silence on Phil Mickelson, distancing himself from his long-time rival’s views on the PGA Tour.

Mickelson, the defending champion, is absent from this week’s PGA Championship. He has not played for three months after taking a self-imposed break from the game following controversy around his involvement in the controversial LIV series.

Woods, playing just his second event since suffering serious injuries in a car crash last year, insisted he has a “completely different stance” on how the tour should be run.

And the 15-time major winner accused his long-time adversary of “polarising” the game’s top stars.

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“Phil has said some things that a lot of us who are committed to the tour and the legacy of the tour have pushed back against, and he’s taking some personal time,” Woods said.

“We all understand that but I think some of his views on how the tour could be run and should be run, there’s a lot of disagreement there.

“It has ramped up very quickly and I think 20 or 30 years ago it wouldn’t have happened as fast, but social media has changed the landscape of how fast things can ramp up, whether it’s real news or fake news or whatever it is. Opinions get out there instantly and it can sway very quickly one way or another.

“What we’re seeing in society is very bipolar. There’s no middle ground. You stand one way or the other and it’s very polarising.

“The viewpoints Phil has made with the tour and what the tour has meant to all of us have been polarising as well.”

Woods admitted he would have liked to see Mickelson make his return to golf at Southern Hills, adding he was “disappointed” not to see the 51-year-old among the field.

But asked whether he had reached out to his rival, Woods flatly denied that he had.

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“I have not reached out to him,” he said.

“I’ve not spoken to him. A lot of it is not to do with personal issues, it’s our viewpoints on how the tour could be run and should be run and what players are playing for and how we’re playing for it. I have a completely different stance on that.

“I don’t know what he’s going through but I know the comments he made about the tour. I just have a very different opinion on that.

“As we all know, as a professional we miss him being out here. He’s a big draw for the game of golf. He’s just taking his time and we all wish him the best when he comes back. We’re going to have differences of opinion on how he sees the tour and we’ll go from there.”

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