Mickelson insists LIV tour is 'here to say,' wants PGA to work with them

Phill Mickelson watches his tee shot on the 12th hole during the first round of the LIV Golf Invitational-Chicago tournament Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, in Sugar Grove, Ill. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Phil Mickelson insists that LIV Golf "is here to stay" and that "the best solution" is for the PGA Tour "to come together" and work with the Saudi-backed breakaway series.

Speaking after the opening round of the LIV event in Chicago on Friday, Mickelson said: "The PGA Tour, for the last 20 or 30 years have had all the best players in the world. That will never be the case again. LIV Golf is here to stay.

"The best solution is for us to come together. I think the world of professional golf has a need for the old, historical, history of the game product that the PGA Tour provides. And I think that LIV provides a really cool, updated feel that is attracting a lot younger crowd.

"I think both are needed for the game of golf," the 52-year-old added.

Mickelson has won six major titles during his career, most recently the 2021 PGA Championship. Prior to that, he had won only two events since 2013 and was ranked 60th and 70th the past two years.

LIV currently has only one top-20 player (Australia's Cameron Smith, who is No. 2), while the next highest world-ranked player is No. 19 Joaquin Niemann.

Along with several other players and LIV Golf, Mickelson is currently involved in an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour, claiming it has used monopoly power to try to squash competition and has unfairly suspended players. Players who did not resign their PGA Tour memberships were suspended for competing in LIV events, and most of those suspensions are through March 2024.

Mickelson and other LIV players have kept their public comments focused on how the new series offers much needed changes to the tradition-based sport. But others continue to point to the issue of issue of where LIV funding is coming from, given Saudi Arabia's human-rights record. Critics say the players are essentially taking blood money.

With files from The Associated Press

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