The Phil Mickelson biographer who published the golfer’s infamous comments showed up at the LIV Golf event and produced the most dramatic shot of the day

  • Phil MIckelson biographer Alan Shipnuck said he was “physically removed” from a post-round press conference at LIV Golf’s inaugural event.
  • Shipnuck told LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman what happened, and Norman claimed he didn’t know.

LIV Golf, the Saudi-backed challenge for the PGA Tour, kicked off its first event on Thursday with a shotgun start at the Centurion Club just outside London.

As 48 players hit the course, the most eye-catching moment of the day came not from the golf, but from a post-round press conference with Phil Mickelson, where golf writer Alan Shipnuck said he was “physically removed” by Security.

Golf fans may remember Shipnuck as the reporter who published Mickelson’s inflammatory comments about the new league that nearly derailed LIV Golf before they even staged an event.

“These are some scary motherfuckers to get involved with,” Mickelson told Shipnuck of the Saudis backing LIV Golf in a November 2021 chat. “We know they killed [Washington Post reporter and U.S. resident Jamal] Khashoggi and have a horrible human rights record. They execute people there for being gay. Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it? Because it’s a unique opportunity to reshape the way the PGA Tour works.”

Shipnuck, who at the time was working on a biography of Mickelson, decided to publish Mickelson’s comments in February as LIV Golf prepared to announce players and events for its inaugural season.

Mickelson offered a lukewarm no excuse and retired from the golfing world, even skipping the PGA Championship, which he won just a year ago. With LIV Golf suddenly facing a Mickelson-sized hole in its roster, both as a golfer and a PR machine, the separatist league’s future seemed to momentarily stall.

But in the weeks and months that followed, LIV Golf continued, announcing a series of eight events and eventually, some of the players who would make up its inaugural field, including Mickelson.

On Thursday, Shipnuck was on hand for the first day of action at the Centurion Club, after Mickelson’s group and live tweet much of the cycle. His newsgathering day was cut short at Mickelson’s post-tour presser, however.

As he showed in a series of tweets, after Shipnuck pulled out, he reached out to LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman to tell him what happened. Norman said he “hadn’t heard” of the incident, but in the video Shipnuck received and later posted, Norman is clearly visible in the background of the encounter.

Shipnuck showed it to Norman in a follow-up message.

Shipnuck wasn’t the first member of the media to have a confrontation with LIV Golf security. Earlier in the week, AP reporter Rob Harris was escorted out of a press conference before being allowed back.

LIV Golf did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

About Cody E. Vaughn

Check Also

Blake Bailey: Biographer accused of rape gets book deal for memoir billed as ‘cancellation culture warning tale’

Biographer Blake Bailey, who faces multiple allegations of sexual harassment and abuse, has now been …