Phil Mickelson combative with reporter amid LIV Golf denial by OWGR

by Joanne Miller

The Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) recently announced that players on the LIV Golf tour will not receive rankings points, severely affecting their ability to qualify for the four majors. This decision has sparked controversy, with players like Bryson DeChambeau, Cameron Smith, and Dustin Johnson expressing their displeasure with the OWGR’s ruling.

Former PGA Tour player and golf analyst Trevor Immelman took to social media to express his thoughts on the matter. Immelman argued that if LIV Golf wanted their tour to have world ranking points available for players, they should have complied with the requirements set by the OWGR. LIV Golf’s 54-hole events and other tournament format differences were cited by the OWGR as reasons for rejecting their application.

Professional golfer Phil Mickelson also weighed in on the issue, making some interesting allegations as to why LIV Golf wouldn’t earn points. Mickelson claimed that the OWGR decision was influenced by the fact that the governing bodies of golf are a monopoly that wants to protect their financial interests. He also suggested that the PGA Tour’s television contract is based on OWGR criteria and that they would lose leverage in negotiations if LIV Golf received points.

Mickelson further alleged that the PGA Tour has borrowed against their television deal and would face financial consequences if they didn’t hit their benchmarks and receive all their TV money. This, according to Mickelson, is another reason why the OWGR didn’t award points to LIV Golf.

The contentious exchange continued on social media, with CBS Sports’ golf reporter Kyle Porter questioning Mickelson’s claims. Porter argued that excluding LIV Golf is not protecting the majors; instead, it may be worsening the quality of their respective tournaments. Mickelson responded by highlighting the financial disparities between the events and player earnings and maintained that LIV Golf represented the players’ best interests.

The debate ultimately centered on whether the OWGR’s decision to exclude LIV Golf was in line with a standard of uniformed governance or if it was motivated by protecting the financial interests of the majors and the PGA Tour. Mickelson stood firmly in his belief that the OWGR ruling was driven by self-interest, while Porter emphasized the importance of upholding governance standards for the global golf landscape.

The exchange concluded with Porter noting that the Augusta National Golf Club (ANGC) denied OWGR points to a player from LIV Golf, allegedly due to concerns raised by LIV’s lawyers about the Tour Championship being compared to the Super Bowl of golf.

Despite the arguments and disagreements, Mickelson’s support of LIV Golf and his belief that the tour better represents the players’ interests were clear. He reiterated his decision to leave the PGA Tour, stating that LIV Golf provides leadership that prioritizes players.

While LIV Golf may not have received rankings points from the OWGR, the controversy surrounding this decision highlights the ongoing battle for control and influence in professional golf. The clash between traditional governing bodies, tours, and new ventures like LIV Golf showcases the complexities and power dynamics within the sport.

As the golfing world continues to navigate these challenges, players like Mickelson who are willing to speak out against the status quo will undoubtedly play a significant role in shaping the future of the game.

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