Phil Mickelson Explains Joining LIV Golf, Wants to Stay on PGA Tour

Phil Mickelson Explains Joining LIV Golf, Wants to Stay on PGA Tour
© USA Today

Lacking the familiar charm and charisma he’s been known for throughout his career, Phil Mickelson met with media members for the first time since joining the LIV Golf International Series.  

Devoid of any sense of enthusiasm or joy, Mickelson explained his desire to remain on the LIV Golf Tour and also the PGA Tour. Mickelson has already committed to all eight LIV events this year and 10 next year, but his status on the PGA Tour remains in question after he and the other LIV golfers were suspended by the PGA Tour on Thursday.  

“My preference is to be able to choose which path I’d like,” he said during Monday’s news conference at the Country Club in Brookline, the site of this weekend’s U.S. Open. “One or the other or both. I feel that I gave as much back to the PGA Tour and the game of golf that I could throughout my 30 years here and throughout my accomplishments on the course, I’ve earned a lifetime membership. I intend to keep that and then choose going forward which events to play or not.” 

The irony is that Mickelson has selected the path he would like to take. He elected to take the money and the controversy that comes with LIV Golf and should have understood there would be repercussions for his decision, including a potential ban from the PGA Tour.  

It has been reported by the Golf Channel that Mickelson accepted a deal worth $200 million to become a member of the new tour, an upstart professional golf circuit bankrolled by Saudi Arabia, that has been criticized for its human rights history and connection to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York.  

Mickelson cited the financial commitment and the ability to “have more balance in my life” for his decision to join LIV Golf. In addition to the $200 million he is reportedly receiving, LIV Golf has a $255 million purse for its first eight events.  

When pressed about his opinion on the disappointment some of his fans may have with his decision, he turned into a broken record and kept repeating the word “respect,” about the opinions of his detractors. 

"I respect and I understand their opinions,” he said. “And I understand that they have strong feelings and emotions regarding this choice, and I certainly respect that. 

“I respect if (the other players) disagree, but at the time, this is the right decision.” 

Mickelson U.S. Open Odds 

Mickelson earned a five-year exemption to the U.S. Open after winning the 2021 PGA Championship. If Mickelson wins the U.S. Open, he will complete the career grand slam. 

But oddsmakers don’t like his chances this weekend. At FanDuel Sportsbook, Mickelson is +22000 to win the tournament and is +20000 at DraftKings Sportsbook and BetMGM Sportsbook.  

His recent form hasn't been great. Mickelson had the eighth-worst score at last weekend's LIV event in London, shooting 10-over par over the three-round tournament.