KPMG has terminated its long-standing sponsorship of Phil Mickelson in the wake of the US golfer’s comments supporting a proposed Saudi-backed tour.
Mickelson apologised on Tuesday for remarks in which he pushed the case for a new circuit despite acknowledging Saudi Arabia’s “horrible record on human rights”.
KPMG on Mickelson’s cap has been one of golf’s most familiar sights since the bank and the six-time major winner began a commercial partnership in 2008.
“KPMG US and Phil Mickelson have mutually agreed to end our sponsorship effective immediately,” it said last night. “We wish him all the best.”
The bank added that it would retain its other brand ambassadors on the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour. It is also title sponsor of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, one of the five women’s major championships.
In a lengthy statement, Mickelson, 51, said he had given all of his sponsors “the option to pause or end the relationship as I understand it might be necessary given the current circumstances”.
Mickelson’s controversial remarks were made late last year to the author of a new biography on him, excerpts of which were released last week.
The most explosive comments surrounded his support for a putative new circuit backed by Saudi Arabia, the organisers of which are reported to have offered eight-figure sums to join.
“We know they killed [Washington Post columnist Jamal] Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights. They execute people over there for being gay,” Mickelson said.
“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.”
Apologising on Tuesday, current US PGA champion Mickelson added: “I used words I sincerely regret that do not reflect my true feelings or intentions.
“It was reckless, I offended people, and I am deeply sorry for my choice of words. I’m beyond disappointed and will make every effort to self-reflect and learn from this.
“I have made a lot of mistakes in my life and many have been shared with the public. My intent was never to hurt anyone and I’m so sorry to the people I have negatively impacted.
“This has always been about supporting the players and the game and I appreciate all the people who have given me the benefit of the doubt.”