ST. ALBANS, England — Very little has been said in Phil Mickelson’s deliberately tentative press conferences this week at the LIV Golf Invitational, but one factoid did squeak in Thursday evening. Despite being suspended indefinitely by the PGA Tour, and unwilling to comment on that matter at all, Mickelson has instead committed to play every single one of the eight LIV events this year, and all 10 events the series is planning for 2023.
In other words, even though Mickelson believes private contractual info should stay exactly that — private — he did admit that he has signed on for at least two years.
While much has been reported about the hefty sums of money players have accepted to commit to the rival series, not much had been clarified about the length of their commitments. They are not the same for every player, but they are often more than one year.
Bryson DeChambeau has not played a single LIV event yet, but his commitment was officially announced Friday during the second round. His contract, according to sources close to the situation, is multi-year as well, and also worth more than the previously reported $120 million figure.
Speaking after his second-round 70 Friday, Dustin Johnson was in a good mood, happy to share. Mickelson has committed to two years, I said to DJ, then asked: Have you committed to multiple years of LIV Golf?
“Yes, I have,” Johnson said, always answering only the question he’s been asked.
“A few,” he said, smiling.
The press conference was then abruptly ended, limited to less than four minutes in all. But the truth was, the highest-ranked player in the field, who ultimately validated LIV in a way no other pro had before last week, was happy to share the exact info. Johnson sauntered off the podium, crossed paths with me and spoke quietly: “Officially, it’s four years.”
Johnson had spent the previous few minutes telling the press that he’s very content with the proposed schedule of just eight events in 2022, and four more if you include the major championships. His exemption in those, as it turns out, runs out after the same four years, in 2025.
“That was the whole reason I started playing on LIV is to play less golf, not more,” he said.
The schedule, it seems — and that it includes fewer events — is an underrated point of progress for LIV with the players who have committed. They argue that fewer events creates greater freedom for the rest of their lives. They have often scorned the 15-event minimum the PGA Tour has held up as a requisite to maintain membership on a year-to-year basis. Well, there’s no complex philosophy needed to understand it’s easier to commit to multiple years when the money is large and suddenly the work is less. Even the players who haven’t necessarily signed multi-year deals are able to think about a future where instead of 15 events being their minimum for membership, maybe it’s their maximum.
“I’m doing this to play less so I can be more with my family,” Sergio Garcia said. “Not to play more.”
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