Phil Mickelson promises more PGA Tour players will join LIV Golf

When LIV Golf announced its commitment to its first group of players in May 2022, two-time major champion Dustin Johnson was at the top of the list . Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood were also mentioned.

A week later, Phil Mickelson signed the contract. A few weeks later, Brooks Koepka arrived. Later that summer, Cameron Smith won the Open Championship and Joaquin Niemann signed.

LIV Golf stole the stars on the PGA Tour, but that slowed after its first year. The second year is almost over and the future of LIV Golf is somewhat gloomier due to the framework agreement between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and Saudi PIF. And that was before the recent announcement of OWGR’s decision to deny LIV golf events world ranking points, which are crucial for the majority of their players to qualify for the championships big.

So will LIV continue to grow? Mickelson thinks so. The six-time major champion is in Florida for this week’s season-ending LIV Tag Team Championships at Trump National Doral, and during a press conference packed with players Wednesday, Mickelson was asked about some of the latest developments around the golfing world. Of particular note is OWGR’s decision and what LIV should do next.

“As a league that’s trying to grow the game, take it global and promote the game around the world, and bring something different to the old hardcore format that we had for decades, we just focused on what we do and making our product as good and interesting as possible,” Mickelson said. “We need to change our program. OWGR clearly needs tweaking, but we need to refine our format to continue to grow and become more interesting and easier to understand. We have enough work to do to make our products more and more interesting and engaging without us having to worry about what they’re doing.
As for LIV’s development, Mickelson said they have a lot of ideas internally – “we have to see if they are good ideas or not,” he said – but what matters is talent .
“When you’re starting out and we’re only about a year and a half old, you look at the quality of players we have now and it will continue to improve over the next year and that will Continue. to improve next year,” Mickelson said. “It’s important that we continue to develop our product, our presentation. That was kind of the idea at first. Like we thought, okay, we’ll have the team championship, we’ll have the individual competition. But all of this is fluid and will evolve in ways that are easier to understand and become more appealing based on the needs and desires of fans, as well as television and others.

With the OWGR news and with LIV Golf now heading into its third season following this week’s event, Mickelson was asked if he thought more players would come from the PGA Tour. Does he think the exodus has stopped or are more players coming?
“Do I think so? he say. “No, I knew that would happen.”

“When players look at LIV, they are wanting to be a part of it. Everybody here is happy and enjoying what we are doing and enjoying the team aspect of it and enjoying each other and the camaraderie and enjoying playing golf globally and all the benefits that come with playing this tour,” Mickelson continued. “So there’s a lot of players that see that and want to be a part of it. The question is, you know, how many spots are available. There’s a lot more players that want to come than there are spots.”

There’s really no definite answer regarding what happens to LIV Golf going forward. Maybe something, perhaps nothing. Right now, the golf world has way too many question marks.

Asked if he thought the pending merger would affect players coming to LIV — a question that might have been intended to mean it would discourage players — Mickelson twisted his answer the other direction.

“I think the merger talks allow for it,” he said. “I think it allows and kind of opens the door for that.”

With LIV Golf’s season winding down, four players will now face relegation (the lack of guaranteed promotion and relegation of players is one thing that hurt LIV in its attempt for World Ranking points). One of them is James Piot, who was on Mickelson’s HyFlyers GC team. On Wednesday team captains were asked about filling those spots.

“The reality is, I’ve been fielding calls, as we all have, from players that are free agents,” Mickelson said. “To PGA Tour players to DP World Tour players that want to come over. You know, the spot’s probably going to be filled by the time the qualifying tournament is here. … But I think there’s a good chance based on the number of calls that we’ve had that the spot will be filled fairly soon.”

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