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Phil Mickelson Says LIV Golf, PGA Tour Should 'Come Together'

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 17, 2022

Phil Mickelson (Chris Trotman/LIV Golf via Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson said it's time for LIV Golf and the PGA Tour to "come together" for the betterment of the sport after a monthslong rivalry.

Mickelson, one of the first high-profile golfers to make the jump to LIV, said the breakaway tour is "here to stay," so it's time to settle the differences.

"The best solution is for us to come together," Mickelson told reporters Friday. "I think that the world of professional golf has a need for the old historical 'history of the game' product that the PGA Tour provides. I think that LIV provides a really cool, updated feel that is attracting a lot of younger crowds."

His comments come after he confirmed Thursday he'll consider removing himself from an antitrust lawsuit filed by several LIV players against the PGA Tour.

"Both are good for the game of golf and the inclusion of LIV Golf in the ecosystem of the golf world is necessary," Mickelson said. "As soon as that happens, we all start working together. It's going to be a really positive thing for everyone."

LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman told Tom Minear of The Australian on Tuesday he's tried to make contact with PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan with no success, which left them little choice but to move forward without an agreement between the sides.

"That's why we are where we are today," Norman said. "We tried awfully hard—I know I did personally for the past year. ... When we knew we were never going to hear from them, we just decided to go."

LIV attracted numerous notable players, including Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Cameron Smith and Sergio Garcia, with a variety of perks and life-changing money. The tour is financially backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund.

Its tournaments are 54 holes (one round shorter than the PGA Tour) with no cut, and the purse is typically around $25 million for a standard event. A season-ending competition next month in Miami will have a $50 million payout.

All of that is on top of lucrative guaranteed contracts. Mickelson signed a deal worth around $200 million in June, per Brentley Romine of Golf Channel.

The PGA Tour responded by barring players who appear in a LIV tournament from its own events, and several longtime Tour players, including Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, have been forceful in their public comments against the rival league.

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

McIlroy said in June younger players going to LIV were "taking the easy way out," and he's maintained a stance LIV players should be banned from the 2023 Ryder Cup.

Monahan also reiterated last month there are no plans to reinstate LIV golfers.

So, while Mickelson and LIV appear open to a truce, it doesn't seem like the PGA Tour and its members feel the same way at this stage.

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