Phil Mickelson reveals he has been ‘THANKED profusely’ by PGA Tour loyalists for the changes made by Jay Monahan – and claims his relationships ruined by Saudi-backed LIV Golf were ‘not really close’ anyway
- LIV Golf has faced criticism from many, including Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods
- Last August, the PGA Tour announced a series of changes in response to LIV
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Phil Mickelson claims he has been thanked by his fellow professionals for his role in getting LIV Golf off the ground and ultimately the changes implemented on the PGA Tour after the Saudi-backed breakaway crashed on to the scene.
The 52-year-old has been mired in controversy since he accused the PGA Tour of ‘obnoxious greed’ before jumping ship to LIV Golf last year but it appears that Mickelson may not have made as many enemies as expected.
LIV’s controversial arrival into golf was met with backlash and criticism from some PGA Tour loyalists, most notably Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods.
Phil Mickelson claims he has been thanked by his fellow professionals for PGA Tour changes
But, when pressed on his relationships with those who didn’t defect, Mickelson, who claimed he is ‘at peace’ with not playing on the PGA Tour, revealed that he had actually been thanked for his role in forcing changes.
‘I’ve had a number of guys thank me profusely,’ he told Sports Illustrated.
‘I’ve got the same close relationships with the players I’ve been playing with around here as I’ve had in the past.
‘The relationships that are going to be affected were not really close and were more acquaintances. Their views are going to be altered by public perception or whatnot. The friends are still close.
Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have been some of the most outspoken critics of LIV Golf
‘And I’ve been appreciative of the number of players who thanked me for however big or small it may have been to get some of these changes that occurred [on the PGA Tour]. It’s a decent amount of guys; I don’t want to call out guys and who they are. But it’s been a good learning experience.’
Even World No. 3 Jon Rahm has previously admitted that he and fellow PGA Tour stars should be ‘thankful’ that LIV Golf happened.
Woods and Mickelson were engaged in a rather lopsided rivalry since the late 1990s, until about two and a half years ago when the 15-tme major champion suffered a devastating leg injury in a car crash in February 2021, which he only returned from at The Masters last April.
Meanwhile, the lefty and McIlroy have found themselves embroiled in some of the countless war of words between the two camps – the Northern Irishman’s most recent at the Dubai Desert Classic with ‘tee-gate’.
Jon Rahm has previously admitted that he and fellow PGA Tour stars should be ‘thankful’
McIlroy has been one of the most outspoken critics of the rebel series since its conception and he, along with Woods, led a meeting of PGA Tour loyalists in Delaware last August to discus the fightback against the Saudi-backed breakaway, which ultimately led to the changes implemented by Monahan.
The tour commissioner announced the changes in August, which included huge increases to prize purses, a minimum salary of $500,000 and new elevated events.
A big sticking point in the battle between LIV and the PGA Tour has been the breakaway’s exclusion from the Official World Golf Rankings.
Mickelson claimed the OWGR has lost its credibility by excluding the defectors, which include the likes of former World No. 1s Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka now outside the top 40.
Jay Monahan announced the major changes to the PGA Tour in response to LIV last August
‘There will probably be another ranking system that is a more credible system as it includes all golfers in the world,’ the six-time major winner said.
‘This one has lost any credibility. I wouldn’t be surprised if tournaments stopped using it as a criteria for qualifying. I think it is ultimately hurting the tournaments more than the players.
‘If you’re a major championship and you’re using it as a qualifying factor and you’re taking a system that is not getting all the best players in the field, it hurts the tournament more.
‘That’s why you might see tournaments go away from it as qualifying criteria. Or have a new ranking system.’
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