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Phil Mickelson wants peace in LIV-PGA Tour dispute, questions merger

Phil Mickelson is ready to end the hostilities between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour.

Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Based on public statements alone, we are no closer to a final agreement between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf's backers than we were a year ago. But Phil Mickelson, LIV's most famous star, isn't sure a formal peace treaty is necessary.

In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Mickelson was asked if a “merger” of the PGA Tour and LIV was necessary for the future of the sport, and he answered with a qualified no, citing 2024 US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau as an example.

“I don't know if that's necessary. I know that a few years ago, it wasn't an option to have high-profile events,” Mickelson told Bloomberg. “It wasn't an option for players to have equity. And it wasn't an option for players to transcend social media, create YouTube channels and have their own social media posts, like Bryson [DeChambeau] did. And the way Bryson brought golf and that cool, hip vibe to so many people on YouTube. That wasn't an option. So none of that could have happened until LIV happened. Now it's all happening because of LIV.”

LIV CEO Greg Norman looks into the camera at the LIV 2024 event

“The hate was disgusting”: Greg Norman speaks out about LIV critics in new interview

From:

Kevin Cunningham



The core of Mickelson's argument is essentially that all the benefits of a merger have already been achieved through last year's master agreement. He even claimed that both the PGA Tour and LIV have improved as a result of the relaxation, which is questionable considering the viewership of both tours.

“The competition that both tours offer strengthens both tours,” Mickelson argued. “So is it necessary for there to be a merger? Probably not. But it would be good if there were no hostilities.”

As for that hostility, Mickelson pointed the finger at himself, saying that he, like everyone else, must overcome his anger over the years-long feud among professional golfers in order for the golf world to move forward and prosper.”

“I have to put all of this behind me. I have to put all of the less than positive experiences I've had in the past behind me,” Mickelson said. “I have to put my animosities behind me, and we all do that for the good of the game.”

Mickelson also announced that while he is participating in ongoing negotiations between the PGA Tour and the PIF, he will not be participating in them and will instead focus on the successes he and other LIV players have already achieved through the initial brokered peace.

“All the factors that are quietly going on behind closed doors need to be sorted out and other people are working on that, that's something that's being done,” Mickelson said. “But as this period of disruption happens, the stranglehold on sponsors, the stranglehold on manufacturers, the stranglehold on players, the control that they had is being given up. And now that there's talk of this potential merger, etc., sponsors are more interested, it's not as controversial. Players are starting to come in more, they're starting to see the benefits.”

Mickelson's comments struck a markedly different tone than LIV CEO Greg Norman's own remarks in the same Bloomberg interview segment. Norman railed against the “anger and hatred” directed at the first group of professionals who joined LIV two years ago, calling their treatment “disgusting.”

Kevin Cunningham

Kevin Cunningham

Golf.com Publisher

As GOLF.com's senior producer, Cunningham edits, writes and publishes articles on GOLF.com and manages the brand's e-newsletters, which reach more than 1.4 million subscribers each month. As a former intern, he also keeps GOLF.com running outside of breaking news and service content from our reporters and writers, and works with the technical team to develop new products and innovative ways to provide an engaging website for our audience.