Phil Mickelson: LIV Golf disrupting, forcing PGA Tour to go international

Earlier this 12 months, PGA Tour star Rory McIlroy referred to as for a unified, international tour. He envisions a circuit the place the highest 80 gamers play alongside one another around the globe.

McIlroy echoed that sentiment earlier this week, noting that golf’s present state of affairs is unsustainable.

LIV Golf’s Phil Mickelson agreed whereas including that golf is at the moment in a “disruption section.”

“We’re in a transitional state the place we now have competitors, and that’s resulting in quite a lot of disruption and alter, but additionally, the top product goes to make golf extra international the place the perfect gamers journey extra,” Mickelson stated forward of this week’s LIV Golf occasion at Trump Nationwide Doral.

“However proper now, we’re within the disruption section, so we’re in the course of the method, and when it’s all stated and achieved, it’s going to be so much brighter. However whereas we undergo it, it’s difficult. However we’ll get there.”

For the previous two years, the rise of LIV Golf has divided skilled golf, separating the perfect gamers on the planet on competing circuits. This divide got here to an apex when the Saudi-backed circuit paid Jon Rahm north of $400 million in December to affix LIV.

“I believe I agree with that assertion. Each time I get requested a query like this, I say the identical factor,” Rahm added, sitting alongside Mickelson.

Phil Mickelson, LIV Golf, Hong Kong

Phil Mickelson hits a tee shot throughout the 2024 LIV Golf Invitational – Hong Kong occasion.
Photograph by Lintao Zhang/Getty Photographs

“I believe there’s room for each. It’s so simple as that. I believe we now have the chance to finish up with an excellent higher product for the spectators and followers of the sport. A bit of bit extra selection doesn’t actually damage anyone. Correctly achieved, we will find yourself with a a lot better product that may take golf to the subsequent degree worldwide, and I’m hoping that’s what finally ends up taking place.”

How skilled golf will look sooner or later stays to be seen.

So many variables wanted to be sorted out, comparable to LIV golfers returning to the PGA Tour, participant fairness for tour gamers, and the form of a brand new international schedule, amongst different issues.

It additionally appears as if we’re nonetheless distant from this actuality.

Solely three weeks in the past, PGA Tour coverage board members met with Yasir al-Rumayyan, the governor of the Saudi Public Funding Fund (PIF)—LIV Golf’s beneficiary—within the Bahamas for an “introductory” assembly. Experiences point out that this gathering was an “ice breaker” of types, as substantial negotiations about the way forward for skilled golf weren’t had.

Nonetheless, Mickelson trusts al-Rumayyan to navigate these uneven waters safely to shore.

“I don’t know the way it’s going to finish out, precisely, or what it’s going to seem like,” Mickelson stated.

“I’m placing my belief in [al-Rumayyan] and the place the sport is headed globally. However in some unspecified time in the future, when it will get ironed out, I believe it’s going to be in a a lot better place the place we carry the perfect gamers from the world. It’s going to open up extra alternatives for manufacturing, course design, and for gamers in numerous elements of the world to be impressed and enter the sport.”

Jack Milko is a golf workers author for SB Nation’s Enjoying By. Make sure to try @_PlayingThrough for extra golf protection. You possibly can observe him on Twitter @jack_milko as properly.

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