It seems like controversies never leave US golfer Phil Mickelson alone. For over a year, Lefty has been putting out constant fires. This time, Mickelson found himself in the headlines after fellow LIV Golf player Pat Perez revealed that he hated the oldest PGA champion.
Team 4 Aces golfer Pat Perez appeared on veteran coach Butch Harmon's son Claude Harmon's podcast, Son of a Butch. While on the podcast, Pat Perez did not mince his words regarding Phil Mickelson.
"When it comes to Phil, I have a different hate for Phil than most people. People won't know the story—I'm not going to go into the story again—but Phil crossed the line with me that is just uncrossable and unforgivable."
While Pat Perez did not reveal the exact reasons why he "hated" Mickelson, he made it clear he would never be able to forgive him despite Mickelson apologizing for it.
"He knows that he screwed up. He apologized for the action, but I cannot forgive him for it because I've known Phil for a long, long time. I've known the guy forever. And the fact that when he made this action, not only was it—he had intentions of doing it; he knew it was going to happen before it happened and when he did it—I was hurt, for one. I was like, 'How can this guy do this?.'"
Well, it would only take something very severe to cause such a significant fallout between the two players. If Mickelson's biographer Alan Shipnuck is to be believed, apparently Mickelson offended Pat Perez's wife, Ashley.
"But what inspired Perez to spout off on various podcasts lately was Mickelson doing something that deeply offended Perez and his wife, Ashley. I approached Pat a couple of times to see if he’d go on-record, but he declined."
The details were so inflammatory that Shipnuck chose to keep them out of the book.
"A handful of players and caddies told me they heard of the incident directly from Perez, but the details are so inflammatory I didn’t feel comfortable putting the story in the book without direct confirmation. This whole situation is still clearly festering with Perez so we’ll see if he chooses to make the details public. If so, that will certainly set off a firestorm."
While these claims warrant the irreversible rift between Pat Perez and Phil Mickelson, nothing is confirmed on record as of yet.
"If anybody knows what's going on, it's Phil [Mickelson]," - Pat Perez
While US golfers Pat Perez and Phil Mickelson might share a fractured equation at the moment, the two have also shared many commonalities over their long careers. Although six years apart in age, the two grew up in the same vicinity of San Diego. They played on the same golf course as juniors and also went to Arizona State, although they both had different experiences there.
After spending about 20 years on the PGA Tour, they defected to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series this year.
When it comes to opinions on the PGA Tour, they are pretty much on the same page. In fact, Pat Perez believes Mickelson is "100 percent" correct in his criticism of the PGA Tour.
"If anybody knows what’s going on, it’s Phil. He voiced his displeasure on what was wrong with the tour. He’s 100 percent correct. They are for themselves."
Phil Mickelson found himself in choppy waters when biographer Alan Shipnuck revealed the statements Mickelson made about Saudi Arabia. The comments caused public outroar, prompting the golfer to release an apology on social media.
Pat Perez even criticized the apology, saying:
"His apology was such horses**t, in the fact that he thought he was trying to make it better for the players… He was in it for one reason. If anybody thinks he wasn’t in it for his own pocket, and his pocket only, is f**ing high. They are f**ing crazy… He was in it for himself. Why he went down two different avenues and basically buried himself on both, I can’t figure it out."
According to Golf Digest, Pat Perez explained how Mickelson's comments affected LIV Golf.
"The thing is, Phil almost ruined the [LIV] thing because of his comments about the deal. Guys got scared. 'This isn’t going to happen. Phil has turned.' It couldn’t have been worse timing for the LIV group on the deal."
He also believes that if people gave LIV Golf a chance, they might like it.
"Everything is like, ‘If it isn’t on TV, it doesn’t count.' The people who come out love it. The fans have a blast. It’s like a mini-Waste Management party. There’s music on the course, the fan interaction with the players is phenomenal."
Perez also said that the PGA Tour doesn't love the fans, unlike everyone thinks.
"People are so stuck on the fact that guys left the PGA Tour, that it has to be terrible. 'We’re only going to watch the PGA Tour because they love us.' The PGA Tour doesn’t love fans. They love them because they come and pay money."
Perez believes fans would have a great experience at the LIV Golf events if they came out and watched them.
"If the fans come out and experience a live [LIV] event … Miami was unbelievable. Give it a chance. You’ve got Dustin and Cam [Smith] and Bryson [DeChambeau] and Brooks [Koepka] and Louis [Oosthuizen]. You get to watch all of these great players, but we hate them because they took this money. They call it 'blood money' and 'sports washing' and all this other crap the media throws at us. 'This can’t be real; it’s an exhibition; it doesn’t count.' If they give us a fair chance, they would say it was amazing."
Meanwhile, amidst all the controversies, LIV Golf is planning a bigger 2023 season with more events.