Phil Mickelson has caught the ire of golf fans since officially joining the Saudi Arabian-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series, but undoubtedly the most noteworthy of criticisms came from Terry Strada, whose husband died in the September 11th terrorist attacks.
Strada, while representing the 911familiesunited.org, a coalition of families and survivors of the terrorist attacks, sent a scathing letter to the representatives of Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Kevin Na, all of whom recently joined the golf league backed by Saudi Arabian investments.
“As you may know, Osama bin Laden and 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers were Saudis,” Strada wrote, per the New York Post. “It was the Saudis who cultivated and spread the evil, hate-filled Islamist ideology that inspired the violent jihadists to carry out the deadly 9/11 attacks.”
Strada and the 9/11 group expressed their outrage while accusing the golfers of sportswashing and betraying the United States.
Mickelson, while speaking with the media Monday at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., before competing in the 2022 U.S. Open, was asked how he would respond to those words. Mickelson, as seen during the video conference, first cut off the reporter asking the question saying, “No, I’ve read all that. Is there a question in there?”
Mickelson then continued: “I would say to the Strada family, I would say to everyone that has lost loved ones, lost friends in 9/11 that I have deep, deep empathy for them. I can’t emphasize that enough. I have the deepest of sympathy and empathy for them.”
Strada asked Mickelson and his fellow golfers to reconsider their stance on LIV. Given that Mickelson played in the inaugural tournament over the weekend in London along with the fact he expressed Monday how the decision was the best thing for him, Strada and the rest of the group will not receive their collective wish.
“Much to our disappointment, you appear pleased to be in business with them,” Strada wrote. “Given Saudi Arabia’s role in the death of our loved ones and those injured on 9/11 — your fellow Americans — we are angered that you are so willing to help the Saudis cover up this history in their request for ‘respectability.'”
Mickelson, Johnson and DeChambeau will be among the golfers who recently joined LIV and now are taking part in the 122nd U.S. Open. The first round is set for Thursday at The Country Club.
You can follow along throughout the week of the U.S. Open with NESN’s coverage from The Country Club here.