Phil Mickelson refuses to answer simple 'yes or no' question about PGA Tour

LIV Golf's Phil Mickelson refused to answer a simple yes or no question about the PGA Tour ahead of the rival leagues $25m event at Valderrama.

Ben Smith's picture
Wed, 28 Jun 2023
Phil Mickelson refuses to answer simple 'yes or no' question about PGA Tour

Phil Mickelson refused to answer a yes or no question about his future ahead of LIV Golf Valderrama

The question was a simple one: would he like to one day return to the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions. 

Only a matter of weeks ago we knew that, even if Mickelson's response was a 'yes' there would have been a different reply from the PGA Tour top brass.

But given what has transpired, it appears we could slowly be moving towards a more peaceful future in men's professional golf. 

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The PGA Tour and DP World Tour have struck an agreement with LIV Golf's Saudi backers, the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia. 

We got our first look of what that deal looks like earlier in the week. It provided more questions than answers

But given that Mickelson was beaten from pillar to post for his association with the Saudis, there is chatter that Lefty, 53, could perhaps feel vindicated. 

You will no doubt have your own opinion of Mickelson and the legacy he will leave. 

Mickelson refused to talk about the shock proposal at the 2023 US Open, preferring to concentrate on his golf. 

He said he'd open up about it in the future. So is now the time, Mickelson was asked in Andalucia. 

"Somewhat," Mickelson said alongside Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson, before continuing:

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"I think that right now we have basically an agreement to have an agreement, so there's really -- and everything over the last couple of years that we've been told by Greg and everybody on LIV has come to fruition, so we have a lot of confidence in what they have been saying to us because everything has been happening.
"We don't really feel the need to publicly posture our position. There's really no need for us to talk about things publicly but to just let it play out."

The aforementioned framework agreement doesn't make it clear if LIV Golf is here to stay for good. 

According to the document, the organisations will come together to assess whether to continue the rival league after 2024. 

Should that happen, it could be curtains for Mickelson's PGA Tour career. PGA Tour boss Jay Monahan, who has temporarily stepped aside for health reasons, said he would act in 'good faith' for those that want to return. 

The only hitch is players could be hit with fines should they wish to do so. Would Mickelson want to come back though? Would he accept paying a fine? 

Sir Nick Faldo criticised LIV Golf before the British Masters and claimed he doesn't think LIV will survive as 'nobody's interested'. 

Mickelson said:

"I think actions are a little bit stronger than words. I think if you just look at what LIV is doing and what we're doing, I think that is more of a statement."

So would Mickelson want to return to the PGA Tour?

"Rather than saying yes or no, I know that from a player experience, all of the difficulties and challenges and things that take a lot of excessive energy and output throughout the week have been fixed at LIV. So the player experience here is incredible.
"I just can't envision a better scenario for me as a player than playing out here on LIV."

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Mickelson was asked if he believes he is now vindicated. 

He said:

"I would say I felt appreciation that we got to this point where we're working together because it makes me confident with where the game of golf is headed in the future.
"We felt like it was going to be about two years roughly before we got to that point. It took a year and a half or six months quicker than I thought it would be.
"Going forward, we're all very optimistic about where the game of golf, professional golf specifically, is headed.
"Also a lot of the changes that have been made because of LIV were all very appreciative, both on the LIV Tour as well as the PGA Tour, and we're happy for the guys out there that they're having some positive changes there, as well."

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