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Phil Mickelson Says LIV, PGA Golfers Are All 'Appreciative' of Results from Rivalry

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 2, 2022

Phil Mickelson (Jared C. Tilton/LIV via Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson said he's heard from both PGA Tour and LIV Golf players who are happy about the direction of the sport.

Mickelson, one of the first marquee LIV signings, told Bob Harig of Sports Illustrated on Thursday he's pleased the increased competition is helping everybody.

"Yes, numerous [players have reached out]. And I'm very appreciative," the six-time major champion said. "They are from both sides. I think players on both sides of LIV and the PGA Tour are appreciative of what is happening. Every player is benefiting."

LIV, which is financially backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, was able to lure several high-profile players away from the PGA Tour with a variety of perks, including lucrative guaranteed contracts, sizable purses and 54-hole, no-cut tournaments.

Mickelson committed to the new tour after receiving a contract worth around $200 million, per Brentley Romine of Golf Channel.

Greg Norman, a two-time major winner who's now the CEO of LIV Golf, told Fox News' Tucker Carlson in August they offered Tiger Woods "somewhere in that neighborhood" of $700 million to $800 million.

Woods turned down the offer and has instead joined Rory McIlroy as the most outspoken critics of players moving to the rival tour.

"I disagree with it," Woods told reporters before The Open Championship in July. "I think that what they've done is they've turned their back on what has allowed them to get to this position."

He added: "What is the incentive to practice and earn it in the dirt?"

The PGA Tour responded to the exodus by announcing "enhancements" to the tour beginning next season, including larger tournament purses and a guaranteed $500,000 salary for all exempt members.

Nevertheless, another group of players are making the move to LIV following the conclusion of the PGA Tour playoffs after last weekend's Tour Championship.

Mickelson told Harig he doesn't believe the PGA Tour would have made the changes without the arrival of LIV.

"I don't think anything like that would have happened without the leverage that LIV Golf has provided," he said. "There was no leverage. There were no other options."

Now Lefty, who noted previous efforts to spark change on the PGA Tour fell short, is hopeful golfers of each side understand the importance of competition.

"Unless there was leverage, nothing was going to change," Mickelson said. "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."

LIV Golf continues its debut season this weekend in Boston. The PGA Tour tees off its 2022-23 campaign Sept. 15 with the Fortinet Championship in California.

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