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Rory McIlroy on Phil Mickelson: ‘I think the players want to see him back’

ORLANDO, Fla. – Less than two weeks removed from calling Phil Mickelson’s comments regarding the PGA Tour and Saudi-backed super league “naive, selfish, egotistical, ignorant,” Rory McIlroy took a softer approach to the left-hander’s current plight.

The fallout from Mickelson’s comments, which were published on the Fire Pit Collective website, has been wide and swift. Major sponsors KPMG and Workday announced they were ending their relationships with Mickelson and Callaway Golf is taking a “pause” in their relationship with the 51-year-old. On Wednesday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, McIlroy was asked if he was surprised by how quickly sponsors and some fans turned on Mickelson.

Full-field tee times from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

“It is unfortunate,” he said. “I think Phil has been a wonderful ambassador for the game of golf, still is a wonderful ambassador for the game of golf.

“It’s unfortunate that a few comments that he thought he was making in confidence or off the record got out there and – not used against him, but this whole situation is unfortunate.”

Phil Mickelson apologized for his comments regarding both the PGA Tour and the Super Golf League.

Mickelson announced last week he planned to take “some time away to prioritize the ones I love most and work on being the man I want to be.”

“Phil will be back. I think the players want to see him back,” McIlroy said. “We all make mistakes. We all say things we want to take back. No one is different in that regard. But we should be allowed to make mistakes, and we should be allowed to ask for forgiveness and for people to forgive us and move on.”