Phil Mickelson was back in Saudi Arabia for the first-time since his disparaging comments about LIV Golfs source of funding. He said that he was glad he was on winning side and that he sees LIV Golf trending down. He also denied giving the famous interview with Alan Shipnuck.
Mickelson stated a month earlier that the PGA Tour had all of the top players in the world over the past 20-30 year period, but that that would never again be the case.
He was even more impressive at a news conference for LIV Golf Invitational Jeddah which begins Friday at Royal Greens in King Abdullah Economic City.
I believe that you must pick a side moving forward. You have to choose which side you think will succeed. Mickelson stated, I believe Im on winning side of how professional golf evolves and shapes in the coming years.
We play against a lot if the best LIV players and there are a lot more PGA Tour players. And… both sides will continue to change and evolve until they sit down and have an honest conversation. And I see LIV Golf trending upwards. I see the PGA Tour trending downwards. I love the side Im on.
Shipnuck published an unauthorized biography about Mickelson in May. In an interview, the six-time major champion called the Saudis scary motherf—ers to get into contact with.
We know that they killed [Washington Post reporter Jamal]Khashoggi is a notorious violator of human rights. People are executed in Saudi Arabia for being gay. Knowing all this, I dont know why I would even consider it. Mickelson says Mickelson said that this is a unique opportunity to reshape the PGA Tours operations.
The interview was published just two weeks after Mickelsons participation in the Saudi International at Royal Greens.
Mickelson released a statement following the interview, stating that his comments were not recorded and were shared without context.
He stated that he never had an interview with Alan Shipnuck. I found that my experience working with LIV Golf was nothing but positive. I have the deepest respect for all those that I have worked with.
Brooks Koepka (Mickelson), Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, and Dustin Johnson were among the major champions Saudi funded LIV Golf signed to contracts estimated to be in the $125million range.
LIV Golf currently has 12 players in the top 50 world ranking — British Open champion Cameron Smith at Number. The highest ranking is 2, while most of them are below the top 25, as LIV Golf hasn’t received any world ranking points since June.
The PGA Tour has a majority (19 of the top 20) of its current stars. In 2023, a new schedule will be in place that will bring together the best players around the world 15 times a year to compete for $20 million prize money.
These are the changes Mickelson had hoped for. He and other PGA Tour members who signed with LIV Golf have been suspended by the Tour. This is in response to an antitrust lawsuit that was scheduled for a January 2024 trial.
LIV Golf offers a 48-man field with 54 holes and a guaranteed $25 million per week. Dustin Johnson has already made more than $30 millionIncludes a $18 million bonus for winning the individual points race.
Mickelson was seen by LIV Golf leader Greg Norman as the chief recruiter. His comments in February were what slowed down the inaugural year for LIV Golf.
This summer has shown the great divide in golf. Both the PGA Tour (European tour) and the PGA Tour (USA) have no interest in anyone who has signed to LIV Golf.
LIV Golf players could compete in the U.S. Open or British Open if they were eligible. However, both organizations opposed the rival league. The Royal & Ancient asked Norman not to take part in the 150th anniversary celebration at St. Andrews in July.
Mickelson stated that golf is very fortunate to have Saudi Arabias sovereign fund invest in the game. It has invested $300 million to support the Asian Tour in addition to the enormous money it has paid LIV Golf players, purses and officials.
Mickelson stated, Now the United States of America and the U.K. do not favor this. But LIV Golf is loved all over the globe. They will eventually accept it and come around.
Mickelson, 52 years old, signed with LIV Golf in June. This was one year after he became oldest major winner at 2021 PGA Championship, his sixth major title.
He has only been on LIV Golf six times, and has only one top 10, a tie for eighth outside Chicago, seven behind Smith.
He believes LIV Golf has given him a new lease of life and motivated him to compete.
I love the experience. I love the way they treat me. He said that he loved the way they include us and listen when we make decisions. Its so inclusive. LIV Golf is the leader. It doesnt matter what it is. [wearing]LIV will lead the shorts and other aspects of professional golf.