Phil Mickelson’s sympathy is ‘insulting’: 9/11 widow

Phil Mickelson’s sympathy is ‘insulting’: 9/11 widow

Twenty years before Tom Strada, 41, found himself a bond broker for Cantor Fitzgerald on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center’s North Tower at 8:46 a.m. on September 11, 2001, he was a scratch golfer and professional assistant at the Meadow Brook Country Club.

This is where he meets his future wife, Terry, a waitress at the club. She describes their first meeting in the kitchen as love at first sight and 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 of Mickelson and other American players in a letter from the organization she chairs, 911familiesunited.org, for their involvement in the controversial Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series. . She accused the group of “sportswashing” and betraying the United States.

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

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

Tom and Terry Strada
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 pressed the journalist [asking if there was a question in there] was very rude,” Strada said. “I was shocked and disappointed that he evaded the question. He is aware that he is sportwashing, and he is trying to escape it. But he is involved in it.

Sportswashing is the idea that LIV Golf is being used to distract from the long list of human rights atrocities in Saudi Arabia, which includes the mass execution of 81 men in March. There was also the 2018 killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Turkey, which Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered, according to intelligence agencies. And 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia.

Bin Salman, meanwhile, controls the Public Investment Fund, which finances LIV Golf. Norman is the CEO and commissioner of the league. Mickelson admitted the Saudis engage in sportswashing, but said LIV Golf appealed to him because of an “obvious and incredible financial commitment, for all players involved and for everyone involved”.

Fans watch Phil Mickelson of the United States as he plays his shot from the second tee
Phil Mickelson has faced heavy criticism from 9/11 survivors and their families for attending LIV Golf.
Getty Images
Tom Strada with his eldest son Thomas, who is now 27.
Tom Strada with his eldest son Thomas, who is now 27.
Strada family

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

” I broke down [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 Greg Norman as well. We have always appreciated [Mickelson’s] charisma and personality. We have always rooted for him.

Not anymore.

In a statement released Monday by Strada, she said Mickelson knew what he was doing and that he and other players competing in the Saudi-backed league should be “ashamed”.

“Have [them] involved in this is disappointing. It’s also insulting,” Strada reiterated to the Post. “Golf is a game of honor and respectability. Now they are helping the Kingdom clear the story.

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