Maybe Phil Mickelson has had enough of Alan Shipnuck or Greg Norman wanted to make a point.
Either way, one of the strangest days in recent golf history ended at the Centurion Golf Club near London on Thursday evening with Shipnuck, the author of “Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar,” being removed from what’s known as the flash interview area at the LIV Golf Invitational Series inaugural event.
Shipnuck, a partner for The Fire Pit Collective, traveled to the United Kingdom for the event and followed Mickelson during his opening round. Afterward, Mickelson spoke to members of the press, as is customary.
However, Shipnuck was not allowed to join.
He wrote on Twitter:
“Well, a couple of neckless security dudes just physically removed me from Phil Mickelson’s press conference, saying they were acting on orders from their boss, whom they refused to name. (Greg Norman? MBS? Al Capone?) Never a dull moment up in here.”
Golfweek reached out to Shipnuck, who replied in a text message: “I was credentialed and I was standing in the flash area at the start of Phil’s presser when they came for me.”
Not allowing a credentialed press member to attend a player’s press conference is unheard of on other golf tours, but things got stranger in the moments afterward.
Shipnuck sent text messages to LIV Golf’s commissioner, Greg Norman, to point out the incident, and Norman replied that he had not heard about it. Shipnuck did not know when he sent the message that Norman had seen the whole thing.
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In an email to Golfweek, Shipnuck said: “I have no ill will toward Phil. I just wanted to ask him one boring golf question, which is my job. Either he is being way too sensitive or the LIV folks are being too overprotective but, either way, they are overreacting.”
This incident comes two days after Associated Press reporter Rob Harris was cut off, removed from the LIV media center and reprimanded by LIV officials for not being “polite.” Harris was allowed back into the media center about 10 minutes later, according to ESPN.
“The security guards were inappropriately aggressive and physical, considering I was just standing there trying to make sense of the bizarre reasons they were citing for wanting to remove me,” Shipnuck said.
The second round of the LIV Golf London event is Friday at 9:30 a.m. ET. LIV Golf does not have a TV deal but is streaming the tournament on its YouTube channel.
“This whole situation is messy and ridiculous,” Shipnuck said to Golfweek. “If I have another boring golf question for Phil I’ll ask it because I did fly 6,000 miles to be here and I’m not inclined to be silenced by Greg Norman and his goons.
“Or maybe I’ll just focus on Chantananuwat Ratchanon. … he seems like a nice kid.”