Phil Mickelson names the three things LIV stars have that PGA Tour rivals want

June 29, 2024

Phil Mickelson appeared to cut all ties with the PGA Tour following his move to LIV Golf, and the six-time major winner has had say on how the game has changed two years on

Phil Mickelson has listed three key aspects of LIV Golf that their rivals at the PGA Tour are keen to adopt themselves, having had his say on the ever-changing landscape of the sport in recent years.

Mickelson became the first marque name to commit himself to the Saudi-backed league over two years ago, and has not looked back since having led a whole host of huge names to the LIV setup. One of the key reasons for Mickelson making his move was the lack of media rights players possessed whilst competing on the PGA Tour.

“It’s not public knowledge, all that goes on,’’ Mickelson told Golf Digest back in February 2022. “But the players don’t have access to their own media. If the Tour wanted to end any threat, they could just hand back the media rights to the players…

“There are many issues but that is one of the biggest. For me personally, it’s not enough that they are sitting on hundreds of millions of digital moments. They also have access to my shots, access I do not have. They also charge companies to use shots I have hit.

“And when I did ‘The Match’ — there have been five of them — the tour forced me to pay them $1 million each time. For my own media rights. That type of greed is, to me, beyond obnoxious.” Mickelson’s comments were well documented at the time, as he brought an end to his 30-year relationship with the PGA Tour.

Two years on though, professional golf is in a slightly healthier position, with the PGA Tour in active negotiations with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF) over ending their dispute with LIV. In the meantime, Mickelson has looked back on the saga, and outlined the changes that the impact of LIV Golf has created in the game for players on both sides of the fallout.

“We have elevated events every week out here on LIV,” he told Bloomberg. Adding two more positives to his list, he went on: “We have equity, and we have the ability to use or social media platforms however we want to promote the game. This is starting to change now, and is changing on the PGA Tour.”

And Mickelson may well have a point, with the breakaway league’s mega-money lure seemingly forcing the hand of the PGA Tour. Jay Monahan and co have implemented ‘Signature Events’ to the schedule, with eight tournaments matching the £15.8 million ($20m) purse of LIV events.

The PGA Tour have also recently introduced a ‘Player Equity Program’, with members allotted shares in the circuit’s for-profit entity, PGA Tour Enterprises. The share model is one followed by LIV, who allow their players to take equity and ownership of the 13 different franchises that compete on the circuit.