Golf Legend Phil Mickelson: PGA Sees Surge in Players Eager to Join LIV

Phil Mickelson, a six-time major winner, expressed his confidence that more PGA Tour players will make the transition to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf, despite ongoing merger discussions set to conclude by the end of 2023. The 53-year-old left-handed golfer, who made the leap from the PGA to the LIV circuit last year, shared his insights in anticipation of the season-ending LIV Golf Team Championship at Doral.

Mickelson stated, “I’ve been fielding calls, as we all have, from players that are free agents to PGA Tour players to DP World Tour players that want to come over.” When asked if he expected an “exodus” of talent from the PGA and DP World tours, Mickelson was confident, saying, “Do I think that? No. I know that’s going to happen. When players look at LIV, they’re wanting to be a part of it.”

He highlighted the camaraderie and global opportunities offered by the LIV Golf, leading to a surge in interest from other players. However, the limited number of available spots remains a challenge.

Merger talks between the three tours have persisted since the announcement of a framework agreement in June, with a deadline of December 31 for any deal to be finalized. Mickelson believes that the merger talks provide a pathway for players to join LIV Golf.

Nevertheless, LIV Golf faced a setback when the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) board rejected its appeal for rankings points for its events. This rejection has limited LIV players’ access to PGA Tour events and the ability to earn ranking points.

Mickelson revealed, “I do want to bring to light as to why exactly they are doing what they are doing. It’s not what they are putting out there. There’s a lot more going on behind the scenes.” He suggested that the majors should find a way to allow LIV players to compete in their events, safeguarding the quality of their tournaments.

American Brooks Koepka and Australian Cameron Smith, the only LIV players among the world rankings’ top 50, called for pathways to allow more LIV players to participate in major tournaments.

Koepka emphasized, “I think it’s hard to argue that some of these guys here are not the best players in the world. These guys deserve to be in majors.” Mickelson and Koepka’s statements highlight the ongoing dynamics and challenges in the world of professional golf.


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