Tiger Woods Says He and Phil Mickelson Have a 'Difference of Opinions' About the PGA Tour

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Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson

Richard Heathcote/Getty; Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Tiger Woods (left) and Phil Mickelson

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are at odds when it comes to the PGA Tour.

Ahead of the PGA Championship's start in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this week, Woods, 46, was asked about longtime tourmate Mickelson's decision not to defend his title at the major tournament, and recent remarks about the tour overall.

Woods told reporters at Southern Hills that he has not spoken to Mickelson since the 51-year-old stepped away from his golf career after he made some controversial statements regarding the PGA Tour and several Saudi Arabian financiers of a separate golf circuit.

"I have not reached out to him; I have not spoken to him," Woods said, the New York Times reported. "A lot of it has not to do with, I think, personal issues. It was our viewpoints of how the tour should be run and could be run, and what players are playing for and how we are playing for it. I have a completely different stance on that, so no, I have not."

RELATED: Phil Mickelson 'Deeply Sorry' for Saudi Golf League Comments: 'Has Always Been About Supporting' Players

Mickelson has spoken out before about wanting to "reshape" the PGA Tour during a conversation with author Alan Shipnuck, whose unofficial biography of the golfer was published Tuesday — after he also said the PGA Tour had "obnoxious greed." The golfer told Shipnuck in a chat he says he believed was off the record that he would overlook the alleged human rights violations of the Saudi Arabian government as a political move to further push his career and participate in the LIV Golf Invitational Series.

"They're scary motherf---ers to get involved with," Mickelson said in the conversation with Shipnuck last November. "They killed [Washington Post reporter and U.S. resident Jamal] Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights. They execute people over there for being gay. Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates."

Mickelson has since apologized for his comments in a lengthy statement, saying, in part, that he "used words that do not reflect my true feelings or intentions." He also confirmed plans to step back from pro golf.

During his conversation with reporters this week, Woods addressed Mickelson's comments, saying, "Phil has said some things that I think a lot of us who are committed to the Tour and committed to the legacy of the Tour have pushed back against, and he's taken some personal time, and we all understand that."

RELATED: Phil Mickelson Withdraws from PGA Championship Following Controversial Comments

"Some of his views on how the Tour could be run, should be run, been a lot of disagreement there. Obviously we're going to have difference of opinions, how he sees the Tour, and we'll go from there," continued Woods, USA Today reported.

Woods noted that Mickelson has his own "opinion" on the future of golf, while he, too, has a "viewpoint" on the subject. "I've supported the Tour and my foundation has run events on the Tour for a number of years," Woods said. "I just think that what Jack [Nicklaus] and Arnold [Palmer] have done in starting the Tour and breaking away from the PGA of America and creating our tour in '68 or '69, somewhere in there, I just think there's a legacy to that."

He added, "I still think that the Tour has so much to offer, so much opportunity."

Still, Woods said that Mickelson would be missed at the championship where he made history last year and called his fellow athlete a "big draw for the game of golf."

A rep for Mickelson did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment on Woods' remarks.

The LIV Golf Invitational Series' first event is set for London on June 9, and the PGA has denied their players permission to participate. As noted by Golfweek, all PGA members must be granted an event release to compete in events outside of the Tour.

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