Mickelson: LIV door ‘open’ for PGA Tour players

Mickelson: LIV door ‘open’ for PGA Tour players

Phil Mickelson on Wednesday said a revised agreement “kind of opens the door” for other PGA Tour players to join the LIV Golf League, with the six-time major champion hinting that the breakaway league’s roster is “going to improve next year.”

“Do I think that? No. I know that’s going to happen,” Mickelson said at a news conference at Trump National Doral Golf Club outside Miami, the site of this weekend’s LIV Golf League team championship. “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.

“There’s a lot of players that see that and want to be a part of it. The question is how many spots are available? There’s a lot more players that want to come than there are spots.”

The framework agreement that the PGA Tour reached with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and the DP World Tour on June 6 included a provision that the LIV Golf League would stop recruiting players from the other tours. That language, however, was later removed from the agreement because of pressure from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.

There are expected to be at least three open spots — and perhaps a few more — for players to join the LIV Golf League in 2024.

In a letter sent to LIV Golf commissioner Greg Norman and COO Gary Davidson on Oct. 10, Official World Golf Ranking chairman Peter Dawson said that the OWGR’s governing board had unanimously rejected LIV Golf’s application for world-ranking points in part because the circuit was too much of a closed shop.

In the letter, Dawson said LIV Golf League officials told the board that 14 players would be guaranteed one of the 48 roster spots for 2024, regardless of their performance this season. The top 24 in the season-long points race can return the next season.

According to the letter, LIV Golf League officials confirmed to OWGR that as few as four new players would be joining the league in 2024 — three from an upcoming promotions event and one, Andy Ogletree, from the Asian Tour International Series. Dawson did write that LIV Golf League officials were “projecting a higher turnover rate.”

Chase Koepka, James Piot, Jed Morgan and Sihwan Kim are in line to be relegated from the league because of their finishes in the individual points race. They can get back into the league by finishing in the top three in the promotion tournament later this year.

Mickelson, captain of HyFlyers GC, was asked about Piot, the 2021 U.S. Amateur winner, earning back his roster spot.

“The reality is, I’ve been fielding calls, as we all have, from players that are agents to PGA Tour players, to DP World Tour players that want to come over,” Mickelson said. “It’s probably going to be filled by the time the qualifying tournament is here. If I’m just being truthful, that’s a very real possibility.”

Mickelson also joined Bryson DeChambeau by calling on the four major championships to create new pathways for LIV Golf League golfers to compete in the sport’s biggest events.

“I think that the majors need to protect their product, and there’s probably other ways that they can do that by creating slots,” Mickelson said. “If they want to make sure they have the best fields in golf, they could create vehicles for players on LIV to play in majors where they don’t have to use the OWGR, which would undermine the TV contract and revenue of the PGA Tour if they gave points to LIV.”

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