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LIV Golf is ‘good model’ for the PGA Tour to follow

LIV Golf is ‘good model’ for the PGA Tour to follow

MARANA, Ariz. — Phil Mickelson measured his response carefully, even putting his answer back on the reporter who asked whether recent changes on the PGA Tour had LIV Golf’s fingerprints all over them.

“You asked that as a question,” Mickelson said Wednesday at the Gallery Golf Club north of Tucson. “It should be more of a statement about the fingerprints.”

PGA Tour pros have not been shy about crediting the emergence of a rival league for forcing the tour to react when it came to making changes. Neither will many LIV players.

Mickelson, the most popular player on LIV despite a game that clearly has declined in recent years, has buttoned up since his controversial comments a year ago about the startup league being financed by Saudi Arabia caused a firestorm, forcing him to take a five-month break from competitive golf. He returned for LIV’s inaugural event in London.

This explains the carefully worded response to the tour’s announcement about $20 million no-cut, limited-field designated events.

“I’m happy to see it, I’m happy to see it for the [PGA] Tour,” Mickelson said. LIV’s second event of the 2023 season starts Friday.

“I think there will always be a need and a want for traditional golf. And there’s always an opportunity to innovate and to allow LIV to be additive and create something new and different. I also think the changes bring the best players about more often. I think that’s what fans want and what the sponsors want. They want to know what they are buying, and those are all things that LIV have provided for their sponsors and television and so forth.

“I think it’s a good model to follow, and I’m glad that they are.”

Mickelson was the first to say that the best way to pressure the Tour into making changes that benefit its membership was to provide an alternative league, or “leverage,” as he has said multiple times.

“I’m really happy with the way LIV has brought about new change to the game,” he said. “Because this team aspect is something that we really never saw as a possibility in golf until LIV came along. It brought about a new energy for me and a new dynamic.”

The 52-year-old may be having the time of his life on a tour where the slogan is “Golf But Louder,” one that spares no expense for players’ parties before each event, allows them to play in shorts and, most importantly, signed him up for a reported $200 million.

But that has not translated onto the course.

Mickelson was…


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