“I think the guys on both the LIV and PGA Tour sides appreciate what’s going on,” the 52-year-old Mickelson told Sports Illustrated in an interview published Thursday. “Every player benefits… There was no leverage. There were no other options.”
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan announced last week that top PGA Tour players have committed to competing in 20 events, including 13 high with a conservative average of $20 million, starting in 2023.
“I am very happy that the great players are being heard and their contributions are being valued. And these events are coming,” Mickelson said.
However, Mickelson is no longer part of that discussion. He was suspended from the PGA Tour after 30 years, along with other competitors who made the jump to LIV Golf. He is among a group of suspended golfers who have filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour.
“My commitment now is with LIV,” Mickelson told Sports Illustrated. “We’ve made some big disruptions in golf, creating some really unique opportunities for players and fans. And we’re just getting started.
“I would say that I am generally happy that the top players who are really leading the Tour and creating interest are being listened to. And what they are doing for the Tour is being evaluated now. I am happy to see that happen.”
Mickelson said he doesn’t feel “defended” about the new direction the PGA Tour has taken. He said he discussed it several times with former commissioner Tim Finchim and then Monahan — “It’s interesting, some similarities,” he said.
Instead, Mickelson says everyone would benefit from a clash between the two rounds.
“Unless there’s leverage, nothing will change,” Mickelson told SI. “And all players should appreciate what the LIV is doing. The players in the LIV, for the chance they get. And the PGA Tour [golfers]for the leverage that is provided to accomplish these changes.
“I believe that with any significant change, you will encounter turmoil. LIV is broken. There is no doubt. I believe that in the end, everything will go as it should. I think whatever difficulties we may encounter in it may be worth it.”
He later added, “I think we’re in a little bit of grace before everything works itself out. I think it’s going to happen at the right time. I think these organizations will come together in time and find a solution. The upside is very high, especially at the global level.”
The six-time main champion said he “wholeheartedly” expects to play in the Masters in 2023 after missing this year’s event as well as the PGA Championship. Mickelson also said he doesn’t think the major tournaments will prevent those who have moved to LIV Golf from competing.
“I think from the bottom of my heart that I’ll be in Augusta [in 2023]Mickelson told SI. I have the utmost respect for [Masters chairman Fred Ridley] and leaders of large corporations. There was still no threat at all. I am not saying that this can not change. I just don’t see how that could benefit anyone. I think they are great sages and leaders who can see that.”
Mickelson added: “I think they understand how not having so many of the best players in the world undermines their own events. And how that would hurt the game of golf.”