By Phil Casey, PA Golf Correspondent
Brooks Koepka has taken a pointed swipe at Phil Mickelson after the six-time major winner criticised the PGA Tour for its “obnoxious greed”.
Mickelson made the comments in an interview ahead of the Saudi International, where he is among a host of top players receiving huge appearance fees and being courted by a potential rival league backed by Saudi cash.
Responding to a post about Mickelson’s comments, Koepka wrote on his Instagram account: “DK (don’t know) if I’d be using the word greedy if I were Phil. . .” followed by five ‘thinking face’ emojis.
According to the PGA Tour website, Mickelson’s career earnings on the circuit total £70million, a figure which does not include sponsorships and other off-course earnings.
The 51-year-old, whose win in the 2021 US PGA made him the oldest ever men’s major champion, also declared himself the winner of £5.9million in December for topping the Tour’s Player Impact Programme, a bonus scheme designed to reward its most popular stars.
Mickelson admits that the prospect of players defecting to the Saudi-backed Super Golf League (SGL) has given them more leverage with the PGA Tour, but complains in the interview with Golf Digest that the organisation’s “obnoxious greed has really opened the door for opportunities elsewhere.”
We could watch this all day 😍#SaudiIntlGolf #SeeItAll
— Saudi International | السعودية الدولية (@SaudiIntlGolf) February 4, 2022
“It’s not public knowledge all that goes on,” said Mickelson, whose biggest complaint surrounds media rights.
“If the tour wanted to end the Saudi threat, or from anywhere else, they would just hand the rights back to the players. But they would rather throw $25m here or $40m there than give back the roughly $20billion in digital assets they control.”
Bryson DeChambeau, who withdrew from the Saudi International before the start of his second round due to hand and hip injuries, also used social media to issue the briefest of denials to a report that he had been offered £100million to join the SGL.
Responding to a post about the story on Instagram, the former US Open champion simply wrote “Wrong”.