Phil Mickelson ‘extremely happy’ for PGA players following announced changes

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Phil Mickelson may no longer be part of the PGA Tour’s future, but the six-time major winner is happy to see that top players are being heard following news the tour will be making major changes for the 2023 season.

Mickelson, who made the jump to the LIV Golf Invitational Series Earlier this year, said in a recent interview that LIV has made some “major disruption to the sport of golf” while creating “really unique opportunities for players and fans.”

The LIV Golf Boston Invitational opened at the International Golf Course. Phil Mickelson practiced on the putting green.
(John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

That “disruption” has led to changes on the PGA Tour, which announced in August that players holding a PGA Tour card would commit to playing in 20 events per year, including 12 elevated events that feature $20 million purses and the top 20 players, among other changes.

“Well, they are getting a lot for it,” Mickelson told Sports Illustrated when asked about the changes. “So I’m extremely happy that the top players are being listened to and that their input is being valued. And that those events are coming about.”

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Team captain Phil Mickelson of Hy Flyers GC on the practice range during the first day of the LIV Golf Invitational — Boston at The Oaks Golf Course at The International Sept. 2, 2022, in Bolton, Mass.

Team captain Phil Mickelson of Hy Flyers GC on the practice range during the first day of the LIV Golf Invitational — Boston at The Oaks Golf Course at The International Sept. 2, 2022, in Bolton, Mass.
(Patrick Smith/LIV Golf/Getty Images)

Mickelson said he had multiple conversations with leaders of the PGA Tour in past years about making similar changes.

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“I think a lot of my conversations with (former PGA Tour commissioner Tim) Finchem going back 15, 18 years — even up to a year ago (with commissioner Jay Monahan) — are pretty well documented,” Mickelson said. “So I probably don’t need to go into every detail. But it’s interesting some of the similarities.”

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Mickelson was one of the first golfers to make the jump to LIV, finding himself in hot water in February after saying the Saudi-backed tour gave him “leverage” over the PGA Tour in an interview with the “Fire Pit Collective.”

Mickelson wound up losing multiple sponsors following the interview, including longtime sponsor KPMG.

Team captain Phil Mickelson of Hy Flyers GC plays his shot from the fifth tee during the pro-am prior to the LIV Golf Invitational — Boston at The Oaks golf course at The International Sept. 1, 2022, in Bolton, Mass.

Team captain Phil Mickelson of Hy Flyers GC plays his shot from the fifth tee during the pro-am prior to the LIV Golf Invitational — Boston at The Oaks golf course at The International Sept. 1, 2022, in Bolton, Mass.
(Jonathan Ferrey/LIV Golf via Getty Images)

“I would have done a lot differently. Absolutely,” Mickelson told SI. “I have my shortcomings. I will continue to work on those. Will use those as a learning experience. Continue to work on this myself. Try to get better in many ways.

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“I do believe that things are working themselves out the way they should. And I’m very happy the top players are having a voice and being valued for really what they bring to the table and how they drive the game of golf. I would have loved to done things differently, but I’m very happy with the way things are coming about on both sides.”

Mickelson said while he’s “incredibly grateful” for the 30 years he spent on the PGA Tour, he’s now focused on LIV Golf.

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“I said earlier that I was moving on, but I probably should have added that I’m incredibly grateful for the PGA Tour,” Mickelson said. “The 30 years I spent on the tour. The opportunities it provided me, (my wife) Amy, my family. Very appreciative of the PGA Tour. I have moved on. I’m going in a different direction and really trying to help take LIV Golf to where I think it can go. What it provides is an opportunity to take world-class golf globally.”

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