tLast time Phil Mickelson was in Saudi Arabia he accused the PGA Tour of “abhorrent greed”. In the eight months since Mickelson made those comments, his relationship with the round, uh, hasn’t improved. His latest remarks aren’t exactly a peace offer.
Mickelson, who had been suspended those eight months for the tour, left for the Saudi-backed LIV golf course and filed an antitrust lawsuit against the tour before his name was removed from the lawsuit, is back in Jeddah for LIV Golf’s final regular season at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club. Speaking to the assembled media on Thursday, Mickelson was asked about everything that had changed since his appearance at the Saudi International in February, and the six-time winner confirmed he had chosen the right side of the divide created by the breakaway circuit.
“I think, as I said earlier, for a long, long time, 30 years on the PGA Tour, all of the best players have played on the PGA Tour, at least for the last 20 years,” Mickelson said. “It won’t be the case again. I think going forward you have to choose a side. You have to choose the side that you think will be successful. And I firmly believe that I’m on the winning side in how things evolve and shape the coming years of professional golf.”
On the surface, this isn’t necessarily newsworthy; Of course Mickelson will defend his decision, one that reportedly handed him a guaranteed nine-figure deal. But Mickelson didn’t stop there, claiming the PGA Tour was moving in the wrong direction.
“We play against a lot of the best players in the world on the LIV and there’s a lot of the best players in the world on the PGA Tour. And even some… well until both sides sit down and talk and work something out, both sides will continue to change and evolve,” Mickelson said. “And I see LIV Golf going up, and I see the PGA Tour going down and I love the side I’m on.
“I love the way they involve us and listen to us in decisions. I mean it’s so comprehensive, it’s so smooth that things are, LIV Golf is the leader. Whether it’s short stories, whether it’s other aspects of professional golf that are going to change and evolve, these positions are LIV will lead it.”
It’s worth noting that the PGA Tour has announced an overhaul of its structure motivated in part by suggestions from some of the sport’s best players. Starting in 2023, the Tour is moving to a new schedule, which will feature a high 12-event, plus the Grand Slam and Players Championship, and a commitment to the “top players” in the game to compete in at least 20 tournaments. The MVP will now be determined by the Tour as the individual who finishes in the top 20 of the Player Impact program, which means making the list awards invitations to the tour’s biggest events with the biggest purses.
In addition, the tour jumped PIP payments from $40 million to $100 million and created the Earnings Guarantee Program, which will guarantee all exempt PGA Tour players who play at least 15 events will receive at least $500,000 for the season regardless of whether They were earning that much tournament prize money.
Later in the press conference, Mickelson said he was not surprised that LIV had managed, in his opinion, a consecutive inaugural campaign thanks to the support of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. However, he acknowledged the declines received in both the United States and the United Kingdom.
“I believe in passion… Look, golf is so lucky that the PIF is investing in the game. The sport of golf is now flowing in billions of dollars. Being able to go global and make golf a truly global sport is really good for the game,” Mickelson said. Now states The United Kingdom and the United Kingdom are not in favor of this. But everywhere outside the world LIV Golf is loved…. It opens up opportunities to take professional golf around the world in other countries and grow the game internationally.”
Following this week’s event in Saudi Arabia, LIV Golf will hold a $50 million team tournament at Trump Doral at the end of the month to cap off the 2022 season.Golf Digest