Mickelson’s misguided thinking creates havoc for PGA stakeholders

Another day, another sports personality apologized. This time around, professional golfer Phil Mickelson is facing a backlash after comments about Saudi Arabia and potential PGA Tour rivals Super Golf League.

Mickelson’s remarks about the Saudi government and its reputation on human rights clash with his views on partnering with the Saudis. He explains to author Alan Shipnuck (who will soon publish a book on Mickelson) that his involvement in the creation of this circuit will contribute to multiplying his influence against the PGA.

We’ll leave out the nasty stuff, because it’s easy to find. in line. However, after the quotes were made public on February 17, it took Mickelson about five days to respond.


Mickelson’s wrong answer

These days, online apologies or explanations seem like the autopilot response to bad behavior from a public figure. Mickelson acknowledges his misstep, but also turns the conversation to the PGA and the need to change golf. He seems to be running away from responsibility.

Eric Yaverbaum, CEO of Erico Communications, said the statement didn’t even come close to a sufficient apology.

“Apologies require real ownership of past mistakes and require a clear plan of action in order to undo the harm that has been done,” he says. “Explaining and offering an apology that the comments were meant to be confidential does not change the fact that they were said, or the real harm they caused.”

Mickelson also announced he would be taking time off from golf, without providing detailed details.

“While saying that furlough is needed is potentially a step in the right direction (so Mickelson can think for himself), the work he will do to make sure it doesn’t happen again is not not clear,” adds Yaverbaum.

Effect on stakeholders

The world of golf continues to come to terms with its reputation of being a closed sport to those who cannot afford to play it. The Mickelson problem does not bode well for the PGA, which has tried to inflame further diversity in sport, but continues to fail. As of this afternoon (February 23), the organization has yet to respond to Mickelson’s statements. Yaverbaum feels the PGA is missing an opportunity.

It’s important to disavow any behavior that isn’t representative of your brand,” he says. “The original comment and statement of no apology is embarrassing because it shows a lack of empathy and self-awareness. This is an opportunity for the PGA…to reiterate its philosophy and values…to make it clear where she is and any action she plans to take.

Other players also seemed affected by the comments and had to decide their place in the matter. Many big names, such as Rory McEllroy, expressed their disappointment. Super Golf League players may have to decide their public stances.

And it’s not shocking to see that several of Mickelson’s sponsors (KPMG, Amstel Light) have let go of the golfer, confirming it with public statements, and distancing themselves from the situation.

Phil’s future?

Yes, it’s important to the golf industry and to everyone involved with Mickelson, but what about Mickelson himself? Can he recover from this bait word? The world of golf has had redemption in the past from Tiger Woods scandals and John Daly gambling problems. Yaverbaum says Mickelson needs to take a mulligan on his apology and not make excuses.

While his initial impulse was to defend himself, Mickelson must listen to his critics, understand how and why it was harmful, take full ownership of his mistakes and the pain they caused, and explain how he plans to make the things correctly. move forward,” he said.

The actions during his sabbatical will also play a key role in redeeming his reputation.

“Will he take the time to talk to those who have been negatively affected? What exactly is his plan for him to learn and grow from this?

Nicole Schuman is editor-in-chief for PRNEWS. Am here @buffalo

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