Like every other war, the one between golf’s rival tours has only two ends: a truce, or a surrender.
LIV Golf and the PGA Tour won’t fight forever, they can’t fight forever. Eventually, one side will win, or both sides will figure out a path forward. And if Phil Mickelson is the one picking, why not choose peace?
“The best solution is for us to come together,” Phil told reporters on Friday at LIV Golf Chicago, the upstart tour’s fourth event. “I think that 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, and that’s being proven in the people that are watching and the age of the people that are watching.”
Of course, the idea of golf’s two big tours working in synergy to create a product for all of the masses to enjoy is all well and good, but in practice, it’s not quite as simple.
It should be noted that one of the largest obstacles to peace in our time has been created, in large part, by Phil. The six-time major champ was the leader of the group of 11 LIV players who sued the PGA Tour last month for antitrust violations. The first scene in that court battle resulted in a loss for the upstarts, and a handful of defections from the suit, but it is expected that the legal proceedings will continue well into 2023. And that would only seem to be the tip of the iceberg legally for the warring tours, as more lawsuits are expected in the coming months.
Still, the courtroom has apparently done little to douse Mickelson’s appetite for healing — a significant role reversal from his prior critiques of the golf establishment.
“The PGA Tour for the last 20 or 30 years have had all the best players in the world,” Mickelson said. “That will never be the case again. LIV Golf is here to stay, and this type of divisive talk is doing nobody good.”
Rather, Phil says, it’s time for unity in golf — so long as that also includes LIV.
“I think both are needed for the game of golf. Both are good for the game of golf. The inclusion of LIV Golf in the ecosystem of the golf world is necessary,” Mickelson said. “As soon as that happens and we all start working together, that’s going to be a really positive thing for everyone.”