Phil Mickelson swipes Rory McIlroy in Twitter drive-by

Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy likely won't be exchanging Christmas Cards anytime soon.

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It seems the oldest rule of the Internet is also the one Phil Mickelson could use the most help remembering: the things you put online live forever.

Late Friday night, the six-time major champ went on the latest in a series of tweetstorms about the state of golf, LIV, the PGA Tour, his net worth and just about everything else. But unlike the strange interactions that have come before it, Mickelson took Friday evening’s tweet session to launch a direct shot at Rory McIlroy.

The situation started with account named @mrmckee, who tweeted out a video from McIlroy’s presser on Friday at the Memorial Tournament. In that press conference, Rory spoke about the pressures of playing so much golf under the current PGA Tour schedule, and how those decisions harmed his game at the Masters and beyond in the early portion of 2023.

“I think these things were creeping in at the end of 2022, probably,” McIlroy said. “And again, that’s why we have all been advocating for an off-season and there’s certain reasons why guys want — it’s very hard to try to play your best golf when you’re really thinking about your golf swing.

That off-season time would be nice to work on your mechanics and your fundamentals so that you’ve got those sort of bedded in going into the bulk of the season,” he continued. “I didn’t really feel like I had the necessary time to do that. You want to take a little bit of time off over the holidays, get yourself back into it.”

It didn’t take Mickelson long to find the tweet. And, at 11:54 p.m. ET, he posted his official response — which included a strange drive-by at the four-time major champ-turned-Mickelson adversary.

“As worn out as Mclroy was after the Masters and his need for an off season [sic], LIV would be perfect for him,” he said. “Problem is I don’t think there’s a team that wants him on it because they’d have to deal with all his bs.”

These days, Mickelson and McIlroy are hardly chummy. Rory was among the first to criticize the “obnoxious greed” comments that led to Phil’s original ouster from the PGA Tour last winter, calling Mickelson’s words “selfish.” As the PGA Tour/LIV situation devolved further, their relationship has grown increasingly adversarial, with the two golfers sharing rather public criticisms of one another through press settings or social media. Before Friday, the most egregious offense came in the Netflix docuseries Full Swing, where McIlroy laughed as he offered a three-word assessment of his current relationship with Mickelson.

“F— you Phil!”

Never mind the logic of Phil’s Friday evening drive-by, which is … questionable; it’s curious that he would bother to post such a targeted criticism at all. It’s been a quiet few months for the two golfers, particularly after Mickelson’s stunning runner-up finish at the Masters coincided with McIlroy’s surprising missed cut. At the PGA Championship, McIlroy took the step of declining comment on LIV altogether, testing a new approach of silence to golf’s Saudi-backed rivals. Meanwhile, the latest data from LIV has been less-than-inspiring.

Last week, LIV ook the unusual step of offering a pay-per-view option halfway through their inaugural season on the CW, a sign the league is struggling to generate the ad revenue it seeks from the TV deal alone. Earlier this week, Sports TV ratings shared that in LIV’s local market of Washington, D.C., the league’s Saturday broadcast had earned 3,404 average viewers (that is not a misprint), representing a moribund .04 percent of the D.C. TV market.

After three events in three weeks, Mickelson has the weekend off from LIV. McIlroy, however, will have the opportunity to respond to Phil’s tweet come Saturday afternoon, when his third round at the Memorial Tournament concludes.

James Colgan Editor

James Colgan is a news and features editor at GOLF, writing stories for the website and magazine. He manages the Hot Mic, GOLF’s media vertical, and utilizes his on-camera experience across the brand’s platforms. Prior to joining GOLF, James graduated from Syracuse University, during which time he was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from. He can be reached at