Phil Mickelson says improved LIV roster ‘going to happen’

by Joanne Miller

Phil Mickelson is confident that the LIV Golf League will continue to attract top talent and improve in the coming years. The six-time major champion hinted at the possibility of more PGA Tour players joining the breakaway league after a revised agreement “kind of opens the door” for their participation. Mickelson shared his thoughts during a news conference at Trump National Doral Golf Club ahead of the LIV Golf League team championship.

When asked about the potential for new players to join the league, Mickelson expressed his certainty, stating, “Do I think that? No. I know that’s going to happen.” He emphasized that players are drawn to LIV Golf because of the positive environment, team aspect, global opportunities, and the overall benefits that come with playing in this unique tour. Mickelson believes that many players see these advantages and are eager to be a part of it, but there are limited spots available.

Earlier this year, the PGA Tour reached a framework agreement with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and the DP World Tour. The agreement originally included a provision that the LIV Golf League would stop recruiting players from other tours. However, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division pressured for the removal of this language from the agreement. As a result, there are expected to be at least three open spots, and possibly more, for players to join the LIV Golf League in 2024.

The Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) chairman, Peter Dawson, sent a letter to LIV Golf commissioner Greg Norman and COO Gary Davidson, stating that the OWGR’s governing board had rejected LIV Golf’s application for world-ranking points. One of the reasons cited was that the league appeared to be too much of a closed shop. The letter revealed that LIV Golf League officials stated that 14 players would be guaranteed a spot in the 2024 roster, regardless of their performance this season. Only the top 24 in the season-long points race can automatically return the next season.

Mickelson was asked about James Piot’s chances of earning back his roster spot, to which he replied honestly, “It’s probably going to be filled by the time the qualifying tournament is here.” He mentioned that numerous players and agents have expressed interest in joining the league, making it highly competitive to secure a spot.

In addition to discussing player recruitment, Mickelson joined Bryson DeChambeau in calling on the four major championships to create new pathways for LIV Golf League golfers to compete in their events. He suggested that if the majors want to ensure the best fields in golf, they could establish slots specifically for LIV Golf players without relying solely on the OWGR. This proposal aims to protect the majors’ product while providing opportunities for LIV Golf competitors.

Overall, Phil Mickelson’s statements reflect his confidence in the growth and success of the LIV Golf League. With the potential for more PGA Tour players joining the ranks and the renewed discussions surrounding major championship opportunities, the future appears promising for this breakaway tour.

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