What does Phil Mickelson think his legacy will be? He’s hoping it’s 1 thing

Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson on Saturday during LIV Golf's event in Nashville.

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Phil Mickelson, a six-time major winner and golf hall of famer, believes he will be most remembered for LIV Golf, the tour surrounded by controversy he’s headlined for the past two years. 

Talking this week on the Fairway to Heaven podcast, a LIV Golf-backed show, Mickelson was answering a question from co-host Jerry Foltz about legacy. Notably, after the response, Foltz then asked a similar question. 

For clarity, below is the first exchange, started by Foltz: 

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“I did a recent podcast in Houston — I think you saw some snippets of it — with a guy named Will Kunkel. Great questions he asked, nothing was out of bounds,” Foltz said on the podcast. “And he asked me: What will Phil Mickelson’s — what will be his flowers at his funeral? His way of saying his legacy. What will your legacy be when all is said and done? What do you think?”

“Well, I mean I think hopefully LIV Golf,” Mickelson said, “and helping get the game to a younger crowd, helping get the game to younger players and giving them infrastructure to become great, helping to grow the game on a global basis. Like, all the things LIV Golf is doing. I feel very connected to the success.”

Unquestionably, LIV Golf has impacted professional golf. The headlines have been seemingly countless. In 2022, LIV, offering guaranteed money behind billions from the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF), launched, and players from the PGA Tour, the established brand, bolted. A year later, the Tour and the PIF shook hands over a funding arrangement. But the sides remain talking  — and in January, the Tour took another deal, from a collection of pro sports owners that’s christened itself the Strategic Sports Group. Notably over the past two years, the Tour has enacted several changes to entice its pros to stay — among them, player equity and “signature events” that feature limited fields and bigger purses — while LIV plays on with 54-player, no-cut fields. 

Questions remain. Will the tours remain apart? Will more Tour pros join LIV? Can the sides come together? What does reunification look like? Progress to the deal between the PIF and the Tour has been made, the Tour has said, but details have been scarce. 

For Mickelson’s part, he’d been one of the PGA Tour’s biggest stars, thanks to the major wins and a devil-may-care style of play. But, in an interview published in early 2022, while discussing the benefits of the yet-to-start LIV league, he’d also controversially commented on the Saudi funding, and he’s been among the pros to play with LIV since its start. 

On the Fairway to Heaven podcast, after Mickelson’s initial answer to the question on his legacy, Foltz asked this:  

“Do you think that [LIV Golf] will be your lasting legacy?” 

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Mickelson said yes. 

“I sure hope so,” he said on the podcast, “because it wasn’t an option — like elevated events and equity in the tour wasn’t an option for the guys that came to LIV. And so the fact that we are invested and involved and integrated into the success of LIV — and I’m happy for the guys on the Tour that they now have all that stuff because they should. 

“But where we’re at, we’re attracting a different crowd. And we’re attracting a global crowd. And that’s critical to the long-term success of the game. And it’s something that the old model of the Tour would never transcend into because you couldn’t get all the guys to go travel the world and play over there and again attract players that don’t play the game of golf to want to watch. And so I think LIV Golf is doing that and I’m hopeful that my connection with LIV and hopeful the success of LIV will be what I’m known for.”

Editor’s note: To listen to the entire Fairway to Heaven podcast with Mickelson, please click here.  

Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.

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