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FILE - Phil Mickelson walks off the 14th green after missing a birdie putt during the third round at the PGA Championship golf tournament on the Ocean Course, Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Kiawah Island, S.C. Whether his true intentions were chasing Saudi Arabian money or gaining more control over how he thinks the PGA Tour should be run, Mickelson has been exposed for manipulating people to get what he wants. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

While a vast majority of the over-the-top outrage in sports has been reserved for Juwan Howard — and rightly so — Phil Mickelson certainly deserves an avalanche of angst right about now.

In fact, just about everyone associated with the half-baked Saudi Golf Tour idea, especially Mickelson, has been riding a barge of bogeys in terms of public appeal.

Last week at Riviera, the Saudi league — a proposed golf league that would have increased fees and lighter schedules for some of the game's elite — was a big talking point.

By the end of Tiger Woods-hosted PGA event Sunday night, the Saudi league was deader than Osama bin Laden.

In fact, with PGA commitments from the game's top players like Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas as well as rumored Saudi targets Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson as well as the game's all-time superstar, Woods himself, I'm not sure if commissioner Greg Norman and the Saudi league could lure enough qualified players to field a 48-player scramble.

But it's been Mickelson who has been the voice of the league, and when his leaked quotes hit the streets last week, it made Lefty look like a complete jack wagon. Mickelson, in a leaked interview with author Alan Shipnuck, talked about how he was dealing with some "scary" folks, referring to the Saudis, but doing it to make the PGA Tour buckle.

And that was the nicer parts of it.

When asked about Phil's quotes, here's what all-around good dude Rory McIlroy had to say: "I don't want to kick someone while he's down, obviously, but I thought they were naive, selfish, egotistical, ignorant. It was just very surprising and disappointing. Sad. I'm sure he's sitting at home sort of rethinking his position and where he goes from here." Ouch-standing.

Rory was far from the only player to issue unwavering blowback to the blowhard Mickelson has become behind the scenes.

Mickelson responded to it on social media with some mea culpas and a fair amount of soul-searching pleas. Hey, we're all human. (That said, can we get back to actually responding and apologizing in person?)

But, on the same day long-time sponsor KPMG dropped Lefty after 14 years, Mickelson — who has forever inside the ropes held the nickname FIGJAM (bleep-I'm-good-just-ask-me) — could not leave the apology alone. He added that his hammer quotes about his greedy, egotistical and selfish motives with the new Tour were off the record.

Shipnuck — a very well-respect golf writer folks — immediately refuted the claims.

This comes with the whispers of a possible book on the horizon from Billy Walters, who is not only America's MJ of sports gamblers, he's also the guy who did time in the inside trading operation that Mickelson was involved in but paid his way out of.

Man, Lefty went from being a Jack- or Arnie-level ambassador for the game, who was a slam dunk to be a Ryder Cup captain and going to be the hottest announcing commodity since Romo to being a complete pariah.

(And that's all on the record.)

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6273. Follow him on Twitter @jgreesontfp.

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Jay Greeson
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