After a stretch out of the spotlight, it seems as though Phil Mickelson has brought himself right back into the PGA vs LIV drama.
The American has not experienced a great year on the course, as his team, the Hyflyers GC sits all the way back in 8th place in LIV Golf’s team standings. However, that clearly hasn’t stopped his optimism about the future of LIV Golf.
In a recent interview, Phil Mickelson sounded off on which Tour will be the most dominant for years to come.
"“I think going forward you have to pick a side. You have to pick what side do you think is going to be successful. I firmly believe that I’m on the winning side of how things are going to evolve and shape in the coming years for professional golf.”"
Phil Mickelson took another shot at the PGA Tour claiming:
"“I see LIV Golf trending upwards, I see the PGA Tour trending downwards, and I love the side that I’m on.”"
If you ask me, that is a pretty bold statement about a Tour that has yet to complete its first season. Let alone; a Tour that has struggled to get Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) points, or major television deals to broadcast on a much larger scale.
While Greg Norman’s Tour is new to the world of golf, it has surprised many with the success it has already had.
Well, almost everyone…
PGA Tour star Jon Rahm was quick to defend his Tour, while also seeming somewhat perplexed at the comments made by someone he considered an ‘idol’ and ‘legend’ in the sport.
"“Man, I love Phil, but I don’t know what he’s talking about. I really don’t know why he said that.”“There’s been some changes being made, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going down, right? I truly don’t know why he said that. Don’t know. I really don’t know. I think there’s some great changes being made and great changes for the players on the Tour.” – Jon Rahm"
There is a chance that this new rivalry could be severely overplayed, but it is worth noting that Rahm has typically been neutral with any comments he has made about LIV Golf. This comment is rather uncommon from the Spaniard, so this must have really made him upset.
LIV Golf has recently struggled to gain viewership, as its main streaming service is through its own website. At their birth, their events would reach north of 600,000-900,000 fans, compared to the disappointing 300,000 received during their recent events in Bangkok and Jeddah. While the time differences definitely played a factor, a 50% decrease is certainly something to take notice of if you’re Greg Norman when planning for the future.
Not exactly the upward trajectory Phil Mickelson was referring to.
In addition, LIV Golf is still struggling to gain sponsors willing to associate themselves with Saudi-backed investors. While that could change going forward, the PGA Tour certainly dominates that aspect of the sport, at least at the moment.
The PGA Tour will continue this weekend with the CJ Cup in South Carolina, an event with a star-studded field that includes Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, and Scottie Scheffler, amongst others.
Meanwhile, we will have to wait a couple of weeks to see LIV Golf tee it up next in Miami on October 28th-30th.