Home Sports Mickelson on the majors: ‘What if none of the LIV players played?’

Mickelson on the majors: ‘What if none of the LIV players played?’

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Phil Mickelson has some thoughts on the majors. (Jason Butler/Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson has some thoughts on the majors. (Jason Butler/Getty Images)

We’re deep into golf’s premier season and these days, in addition to the opportunity for career-defining, legacy-creating victories, that means it’s time to debate the right of LIV players to compete in golf’s most prestigious tournaments. .

Short version: LIV Golf players enjoy huge checks for playing three-round no-cut tournaments. But that money comes at a cost: Paths to professional careers for LIV players are narrow or non-existent. Since LIV is not sanctioned by the Official World Golf Ranking, which the majors use to fill their courses, there is no way for LIV players to make it to the majors if they play only on the LIV circuit. LIV 2023 singles champion Talor Gooch was unable to secure an invite to the Masters or any other major, and he has made no secret of his frustration about it.

One player who has already cleared his waivers (and therefore has no need to bite his tongue) is Phil Mickelson, who has long been one of LIV’s main flamethrowers. In an X take so hot he later deleted it, Mickelson predicted a possible bleak future for the majors:

“Maybe we won’t miss some LIV players,” Mickelson wrote. “But what if NONE of the LIV players played? Would they miss them? What happens next year when more big players join? Or the following year? At some point they will care and have to answer to sponsors and television. FAAFO.” (The final acronym stands for “F— around and find out.”)

Here’s a screenshot of the since-deleted post:

For the most part, LIV has scaled back the “disruptive” rhetoric, focusing on its own lane and letting the PGA Tour handle its own business. For the most part. Mickelson has continued to tweak the Tour, passing along vague hints of big names coming to LIV. It would be pretty easy to dismiss that kind of talk as empty hype, if it weren’t for the fact that just weeks after Mickelson suggested there would be major defections from the Tour, Jon Rahm, a close friend of Mickelson, actually jumped. to LIV.

If LIV players were to indeed boycott the majors, that would certainly attract the interest of both the main organizers and their sponsors. But that implies that LIV players would be willing to sacrifice a year of significant competition to accomplish something, and it’s hard to see, say, Brooks Koepka, among others, making that sacrifice. But the point is valid: At the moment, the majors are the only place to see the world’s best players in one place, and if that option disappears, all of golf will be affected as a result.

Right now, six LIV players (Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Cam Smith, Koepka, Rahm and Mickelson) have exemptions in all four majors thanks to their wins, and Tyrrell Hatton is in all four thanks to last year’s performance. Eight other players have exemptions in various majors thanks to past wins or recent performance. (The Masters and PGA grant lifetime exemptions, the Open Championship grants exemptions until a former winner turns 55, and the US Open grants a 10-year exemption.)

Nearly 40 LIV players will attempt to make their way into the US Open and Open Championship through qualifying tournaments in the coming weeks. Dean Burmester, Joaquín Niemann and David Puig have qualified for the 2024 Open Championship thanks to their performances in non-LIV events.

Mickelson will be at the PGA Championship in Valhalla next week, along with several other LIV Golf colleagues, and will likely have the opportunity to explain his top thoughts. And with many LIV contracts set to expire at the end of this year, there will be open roster spots for any PGA Tour players who decide to follow Mickelson’s lead.

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