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

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

There he met his future wife, Terry, a waitress at the club. She describes her 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 to Mickelson and other American players in a letter sent to them by the organization she presides over, 911familiesunited.org, over their involvement in the controversial Saudi-backed LIV golf series. She accused the group of “sports laundering” and treason against the United States.

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

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A day later, in a telephone interview with The Post, Terry Strada called Mickelson’s words “disappointing, hollow and insulting.” She was also taken aback by the way Mickelson responded to reporters’ questions during the sometimes irritating 25-minute news 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 rushed the reporter [asking if there was a question in there] it was very rude,” Strada said. “I was surprised and disappointed that he was avoiding the question. He is aware that he is laundering sports and is trying to avoid that. But he is involved in it.”

Sportswashing is the idea that LIV Golf is being used to distract attention from Saudi Arabia’s long list of human rights atrocities, which includes the mass execution of 81 men in the country in March. There was also the 2018 killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey, which was ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to intelligence services. 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 serves as the league’s executive director and commissioner. Mickelson has admitted that the Saudis are involved in sports laundering, but said LIV Golf appeals to him because of “an obvious and unbelievable 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 faced harsh criticism from 9/11 survivors and their families for participating in LIV Golf.
fake 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, along with Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau, reportedly signed nine-figure deals with the league.

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

Not anymore.

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

“To see [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 whitewash history.”

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