Phil Mickelson’s condolences are ‘insulting’: 9/11 widow


Phil Mickelson's condolences are 'insulting': 9/11 widow

Twenty years before 41-year-old Tom Strada found himself trading bonds for Cantor Fitzgerald on the 104th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 am on September 11, 2001, he was a scratch golfer and assistant pro at Meadow Brook Country Club.

There he met his future wife Terry, a waitress at the club. Describing their first meeting in the kitchen as love at first sight, she speaks fondly of the two Long Island families’ connection to the game, both recreationally and as fans of stars Phil Mickelson, Greg Norman and others. But last week she spoke less fondly to Mickelson and other American players in a letter to her from the organization she heads,, for her involvement in the controversial Saudi-backed LIV golf series. She accused the group of “sports laundry” and treason against the United States.

On Monday at the US Open, Mickelson was asked about the letter, which The Post first reported, and said in part that he had “deepest sympathy and empathy” for the Stradas and other 9/11 families.

A day later, in a phone interview with The Post, Terry Strada said that Mickelson’s words were “disappointing, hollow and offensive.” She was also surprised by the way Mickelson answered reporters’ questions during the sometimes testy 25-minute press conference.

Tom and Terry Strada
Strada family
Former Westbury Mayor Ernest Strada, left, with his son Tom.
Former Westbury Mayor Ernest Strada, left, with his son Tom.
Strada family

“The way he drove the reporter [asking if there was a question in there] was very rude,” Strada said. “I was shocked and disappointed that he dodged the question. He’s aware that he’s sport washing and he’s trying to avoid it. But he is involved.”

Sports washing is the idea that LIV Golf will be used to distract from Saudi Arabia’s long list of human rights atrocities, which include the mass execution of 81 men in the country in March. There was also the 2018 murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Turkey, which intelligence services said was ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. And 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 came from Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, Bin Salman controls the Public Investment Fund that finances LIV Golf. Norman serves as the League’s CEO and Commissioner. Mickelson has admitted the Saudis are looking into sports laundry but said LIV Golf is approaching him over “an obvious, incredible financial commitment to all the players involved and everyone involved”.

Fans watch Phil Mickelson of the United States as he plays his shot from the second tee
Phil Mickelson has received harsh criticism from 9/11 survivors and families for his participation in LIV Golf.
Getty Images
Tom Strada with his eldest son Thomas who is now 27 years old.
Tom Strada with his eldest son Thomas who is now 27 years old.
Strada family

Mickelson reportedly signed nine-figure deals with the league along with Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau.

“I twitched [when I heard that they were starting this league]said Strada, whose three children, Justin, 20, Kaitlyn, 24, and Tom, 27, all grew up playing golf. “We were big fans of Phil Mickelson and also of Greg Norman. We have always enjoyed it [Mickelson’s] charisma and personality. We always rooted for him.”

No longer.

In a statement Strada released on Monday, she said Mickelson knows what he is doing and that he and the other players participating in the Saudi-backed league should be “ashamed”.

“To see [them] involved is disappointing. It’s also offensive,” Strada repeated to The Post. “Golf is a game of honor and seriousness. Now they are helping the kingdom in whitewashing history.”

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