He might have courted controversy – but Phil Mickelson should be remembered for what he has done for golf, according to Jon Rahm.
Mickelson has not played since the Saudi International in February after comments he made about the country’s regime and attempts to gain “leverage” over the PGA Tour through the LIV Golf Invitational Series.
The six-time major winner has been taking a break from the game – but has registered to play in both the PGA Championship and the US Open, as well as requesting permission to play in the first LIV event in June.
But despite his controversial recent behaviour, Mickelson’s legacy should be left intact, according to Rahm.
The Spaniard claimed the position of strength the top players are currently in is “thanks to him” – and claimed Mickelson has “given his life to golf”.
“I don’t think what’s happened recently should, or will, damage his legacy too much,” said Rahm ahead of the Mexico Open.
“That guy has given his life to golf and a lot of what we have and a lot of what we are competing on now is thanks to him.
“A lot of people focus on Tiger [Woods], but he is easily in the top 10 players of all time. He’s a Hall of Famer and we should recognise him for that. We should recognise the guy has given his life to the public – nobody has done more for the fans or signed as many autographs.
“I know he’s in a bit of a slump right now, for whatever that may be, but I don’t think his whole career or legacy should change just because of a couple of comments.
“Everybody makes mistakes and everything can be rectified, but it has to come from him.”