Phil Mickelson: "All players should be appreciative of what LIV Golf is doing"

"Unless there was leverage, nothing was going to change" - Mickelson gives his verdict on the recent PGA Tour changes with Sports Illustrated's Bob Harig. 

Andy Roberts's picture
Fri, 2 Sep 2022
Phil Mickelson: "All players should be appreciative of what LIV Golf is doing"

Phil Mickelson believes all of the best players should be thankful for what LIV Golf is doing as they have provided the leverage for change to the schedule and purse structure on the PGA Tour. 

Mickelson was speaking to Sports Illustrated's Bob Harig ahead of LIV Golf Boston, just a week after the PGA Tour made some significant changes in a bid to tackle the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Tour.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan listed four key items which include 12 Elevated Events in 2023, a commitment from the top players to play 20 events, an expansion of the Player Impact Program and guaranteed minimum earnings.

Mickelson previously came under fire from the golfing world following his comments made to golf biographer Alan Shipnuck earlier in the season.

"And the Saudi money has finally given us that leverage. I'm not sure I even want [the SGL] to succeed, but just the idea of it is allowing us to get things done with the [PGA] Tour."

Lefty also called the Saudi Arabian regime "scary motherf*****s to get involved with."

He then took a break from the game to work on himself, and returned to compete on the LIV Golf Tour in June. 

Fast forward seven months to September, and Mickelson is still banging that "leverage" drum where the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series is concerned. 

Whether people like LIV Golf or not, Mickelson believes it has brought the best possible change for the PGA Tour. 

"It was stated very clearly that nothing was going to happen," Mickelson told SI's Bob Harig.

"Unless there was leverage, nothing was going to change. And all players should be appreciative of what LIV is doing. The players on LIV for the opportunity they are getting. And the PGA Tour for the leverage that was provided to get these changes done."

Pressed on whether there is a sense of vindication for his own efforts for change, Mickelson said: "I don’t think vindication is what I would say. I would say I’m generally happy that the top players who are really driving the Tour and creating the interest are being listened to. And what they are doing for the Tour is being valued now. I’m happy to see that happen."

Mickelson is understood to have received a signing-on fee with LIV Golf in the region of $200 million. 

But despite the hefty price tag for his services to LIV Golf, the six-time major champion is an incredible 26-over par over the first three LIV Golf events. 

Sky Sports Golf's Ewen Murray admits he is not surprised to see so much "mediocrity" on LIV Golf as so many of the players no longer have any drive to compete as they have already been paid huge sums.