Bubba Watson Supports Phil Mickelson’s Statement on LIV Golf’s Future
Bubba Watson, the two-time Masters champion, has echoed Phil Mickelson’s recent comments about LIV Golf signing marquee players before the league’s third season in 2024. Watson expressed that there are open spots in the league and a great deal of interest from players who want to join.
Speaking ahead of this week’s Team Championship at Trump National Doral, Watson revealed that many players are reaching out to LIV Golf in hopes of securing a spot in the league. He mentioned receiving calls and texts from interested players, even though he himself does not have the power to influence decisions regarding player roster selection. These statements follow Mickelson’s assertion that LIV Golf’s player roster will improve in the upcoming season.
The current season of LIV Golf is coming to a close with the Team Championship, leaving many uncertainties for the future of the Saudi-backed league. One significant unknown is the status of the framework agreement between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, and the Public Investment Fund that supports LIV Golf financially.
Additionally, the league’s request for its events to provide rankings points, which was denied by the board of the Official World Golf Ranking, raises questions about the eligibility of LIV players for the four major tournaments. Watson, who captains the Range Goats team, suggested an alternative solution for major tournament eligibility. He proposed that rather than focusing on world ranking points, the top 10 or 15 earners on the LIV money list should automatically qualify for the majors.
Watson’s support for Mickelson’s comments regarding the eligibility of LIV Golf players in major tournaments comes from a place of empathy for younger players in the league. He highlighted the case of Talor Gooch, who won this year’s individual title but is currently ineligible to compete in next year’s majors. Watson believes that the top earners in LIV Golf, including Gooch and Torque GC captain Joaquin Niemann, should have the opportunity to compete against the best players in the world in major championships.
Niemann, ranked 68th in the Official World Golf Ranking, expressed frustration at the possibility of missing out on playing in the majors next year. He acknowledged that he will participate in events on other tours worldwide but remains uncertain of his chances of breaking back into the top 50 without competing in the major championships.
One of the obstacles the Official World Golf Ranking board highlighted in rejecting LIV Golf’s request for rankings points is the lack of turnover in the league’s player roster. There are currently only four potential spots available for new players next year. However, Mickelson acknowledged that these spots could be filled by new signings prior to the league’s new promotions tournament.
Watson addressed the issue of turnover, suggesting that older players like himself would eventually step back and make way for new talent. While continuing to improve his game, Watson also emphasized his commitment to the business side of the league as a captain and his desire to bring in younger players who can further elevate LIV Golf.
Looking ahead, Watson is focused on the Team Championship this week and planning for the future of LIV Golf in 2024. He expressed his enjoyment in learning about the business side of the league and being involved in its long-term planning. Watson remains optimistic that a resolution will be reached to provide a pathway for top LIV Golf players, like Niemann, to compete in major tournaments.
“I think it will be coming soon,” Watson said, expressing his belief that changes are inevitable for the league. He added that if nothing changes, LIV Golf will still be a force to be reckoned with for a long time.
As the second season of LIV Golf draws to a close, the league faces several challenges and uncertainties. However, with the support of prominent players like Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson, along with the potential for new marquee signings, the future of LIV Golf appears promising.