Insulted! Pro Golfer’s Shallow Sympathy Irks Widow of 9/11 Victim
Few athletes have experienced a more rapid fall from grace, than Phil Mickelson.
A revered world-class golfer for the better part of two decades, Mickelson experienced a gradual career decline, before re-emerging onto the scene in 2021 to capture the PGA Championship. He was featured on Capital One's "The Match" and was engaging and fun, and was generally adored by golf fans everywhere.
Then, "Lefty" spoke to the media about the upcoming launch of a new golf tour, backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund. That was where the fall from grace began, and since then, it's been a steep decline.
Now, he has a widow of a 9/11 victim upset with him, too.
Widow of 9/11 Victim "Insulted" By Comments, Actions of Phil Mickelson
A story by The New York Post breaks down the controversy, which is between Phil Mickelson, and a woman by the name of Terry Strada. Strada was married to her husband, Tom, who worked as a bond broker for a company with offices located in the World Trade Center.
He was a fantastic golfer, and his love of golf led him to meet his wife. They bonded over the sport, and since his passing, she's still kept up with happenings in the sport.
In present day, Strada is the chairperson of the organization 911familiesunited.org, and it was on that site where she wrote a letter to Mickelson and other American golfers about their involvement in the controversial LIV Golf Tour. She's accused the golfers of "sportswashing" the situation, implying that they are using sport to cover up overshadow a more serious issue.
Here's where the issues really began. Mickelson was asked about the letter in a press conference, and according to the article from The Post, he stated that he had the “deepest of sympathy and empathy” for victims of the tragedy. Strada responded in an interview, calling the comments “disappointing, hollow and insulting.” She also said that seeing any American golfer involved in the league was disappointing and insulting, too.
Strada's disappointment stems from the tour's source of financing, which is the Public Investment Fund, otherwise known as the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia. At a personal level for her, multiple Saudis were involved in the September 11th attacks, which claimed her husband's life. What's more, the country has faced significant criticism over multiple human rights' violations.
Golfers who have made the choice to move to the LIV Tour, including Mickelson, have faced significant backlash, as well.
Mickelson, Other PGA Tour Golfers Agree to Join Saudi-Backed LIV Tour
Talks of a new professional golf league began in 2019, and the entity formally launched in October 2021 as LIV Golf Investments. Greg Norman was appointed as the CEO of the organization at that time, and the tour began to quietly recruit players. PGA Tour players began to speak out either for or against the league and it's Saudi Arabian funding sources, causing backlash.
Mickelson, meanwhile, was one of a number of notable names from the PGA Tour to participate in the LIV Golf Tour's first event, including Dustin Johnson, Sergio García, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Lee Westwood and Bryson DeChambeau. Mickelson reportedly accepted $200 million in exchange for his presence on the tour.