Phil Mickelson said he has heard from “many” professional golfers from LIV Golf and the PGA Tour about the current upheaval in the sport and the changes that have resulted.
“I think players on both sides of LIV and the PGA Tour appreciate what’s going on,” the 52-year-old said. Mickelson told Sports Illustrated in an interview published Thursday. “Every player benefits. … There was no leverage. There were no other options.”
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan announced last week that top PGA Tour players have committed to 20 events, including 13 high-profile events with average purses of $20 million, beginning in 2023.
“I am extremely happy that the best players are listened to and that their contribution is appreciated. And that these events occur.”
Mickelson, however, is no longer part of this discussion. He saw his PGA Tour membership suspended after 30 years, along with other competitors who made the jump to LIV Golf. He is one of a group of golfers suspended for filing an antitrust complaint against the PGA Tour.
“My engagement is now with LIV,” Mickelson told Sports Illustrated. “We have revolutionized the sport of golf and created truly unique opportunities for players and fans. And we are just getting started.
“…I would say I’m generally happy that the top players who really lead the Tour and generate interest are listened to. And what they do for the Tour is now valued. I’m happy to see that happen.”
Mickelson said he doesn’t feel “vindicated” by the new direction the PGA Tour is taking. It’s a question he says he discussed several times with former commissioner Tim Finchem and then with Monahan – “It’s interesting, some similarities,” he said.
Instead, Mickelson says everyone will benefit from the clash between the two tours.
“Unless there was leverage, nothing would change,” Mickelson told SI. “And all players should appreciate what LIV does. LIV players, for the opportunity they get. And the PGA Tour [golfers]for the leverage that was provided to achieve these changes.
“I think with any significant change, you’re going to have some disruption. LIV is disruptive. There’s no doubt about it. I think ultimately everything will turn out as it should. I think whatever Whatever difficulties we might face in the process can be worth it.”
He later added: “I think we are in a period of grace before everything works out. I think that will happen over time. I think these organizations will come together in time and find a solution. The advantage is extremely high, especially on a global scale.”
The six-time major champion said he “wholeheartedly” expects to play in the Masters in 2023 after missing the event this year in addition to the PGA Championship. Mickelson also said he doesn’t think major championships will ban those who have switched to LIV Golf from competing.
“I believe with all my heart that I will be in Augusta [in 2023]”, Mickelson told SI. “I have the utmost respect for [Masters chairman Fred Ridley] and the leaders of the majors. There have been no threats to date. I’m not saying it couldn’t change. I just don’t see how that could benefit anyone. I believe they are quite wise and great leaders who can see that.”
Mickelson added, “I think they understand how not having a lot of the best players in the world undermines their events. And how that would hurt the game of golf.”