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Phil Mickelson, PGA Tour proving they only care about money

Phil Mickelson simply advised you precisely what he has been for his whole career — a money machine, a human ATM, a golfer who all the time noticed the journey from tee to inexperienced as a transactional occasion. His eye contact with followers, and his everlasting thumbs-up, and his post-round autograph classes had been all a part of the pitch. 

While Tiger Woods performed for his trophy case, Mickelson performed for his checking account. That’s why Tiger has 15 main titles and Phil has six. 

Monday, Mickelson formally joined the dysfunctional LIV Golf household for this week’s inaugural match in London. As you might need heard, the brand new tour is backed by the monetary muscle behind Saudi Arabia’s oppressive regime, and fronted by Greg Norman, who has needed to take down the PGA Tour for the reason that Nineties. 

On one degree, Lefty and the Shark deserve one another. They have lengthy been two of probably the most full-of-you-know-what guys in skilled golf. 

But as Mickelson will get pounded but once more for a transfer he didn’t should make, it’s value noting that the PGA Tour has no ethical authority on this combat. By promising to punish and ban gamers who select to pattern the LIV life, the tour isn’t making any better stand towards human rights violations in Saudi Arabia than it made towards human rights violations in China, a longtime business accomplice. 

Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson is becoming a member of the Saudi-backed LIV match.
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The tour is merely making an attempt to guard its backside line. This is a money recreation to commissioner Jay Monahan, similar to it’s a money recreation to Mickelson. Don’t let any of golf’s guardians idiot you. The PGA Tour sees LIV Golf the way in which the NFL as soon as noticed the USFL: 

As competitors that must be crushed. 

LIV Golf reportedly provided Jack Nicklaus greater than $100 million to run the operation (Nicklaus handed), reportedly provided Dustin Johnson $125 million to play (DJ didn’t move) and, in response to one Golf Channel report, paid Mickelson an astounding $200 million to enroll. Lord is aware of how a lot the Saudis had been prepared to pay Tiger Woods to rock the sports activities world to its core, break from the tour, and hobble round just a few LIV occasions. 

Sergio Garcia? Lee Westwood? Louis Oosthuizen? Ian Poulter? Kevin Na? 

No, after Mickelson and Johnson, the headliners aren’t precisely Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa and Jon Rahm. LIV’s first match out of the gate is basically headlined by fading stars. 

Greg Norman speaks at a press conference for the LIV tournament in London.
Greg Norman speaks at a press convention for the LIV match in London.
Action Images by way of Reuters

On the opposite hand, Norman and associates have defied the doubters who predicted LIV would open as a clown present affected by nameless hacks. “It’s dead in the water in my opinion,” McIlroy mentioned in February. 

The Shark wanted one whale, and landed two in Lefty and DJ, among the many high three all-time PGA Tour money winners (behind Woods, in fact). If the London no-cut area of 48 lacks high-powered skills of their prime, it does have legit identify recognition, and some entrants with a historical past of promoting tickets. 

The tour tried to terminate this risk by pumping up purses (The Players Championship to a report $20 million), and by putting in bonus initiatives, together with the $50 million Player Impact Program, designed to reward those that transfer the social media needle. But by forbidding up-front money within the type of look charges, the tour all the time left itself open to this sort of LIV problem. 

This isn’t Aaron Judge breaking his assured Yankees contract in the course of a season to play just a few weekend collection in a rival league. The Tigers and Phils and Rorys are impartial contractors who’re assured nothing in the beginning of a season, or in the beginning of a match. In its play-for-pay enviornment, the PGA Tour has without end prioritized the middle- and lower-class participant, the faceless professional who doesn’t drive sponsor funding and who doesn’t persuade any household of 4 to spend a day on the golf course shopping for meals, drink and merch. 

Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson
Getty Images

At 51, sufficiently old to know that final year’s PGA Championship would doubtless stand as his ultimate victory, and uninterested in screaming about the tour’s stranglehold on media rights, Mickelson took the blood money and ran. He apologized on Twitter for the feedback he made to biographer Alan Shipnuck, who had quoted Mickelson calling his future Saudi business companions “scary motherf–kers” and successfully admitting he was overlooking the homicide of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi (amongst different atrocities) as the mandatory value of leveraging Saudi money towards the tour. 

Mickelson mentioned in his post that he had been humbled, that he had undergone remedy in an try and turn out to be a greater man, and that he’s prepared to finish his self-imposed exile from the sport for “a fresh start, one that is exciting for me at this stage of my career and is clearly transformative, not just for myself, but ideally for the game and my peers.” Lefty additionally mentioned that he plans to nonetheless compete within the majors; the USGA ought to completely let him tee it up on the U.S. Open subsequent week in Brookline, Mass. 

In the tip, followers will both abandon Mickelson over this Faustian deal, or persist with probably the most entertaining golfers of all of them as a result of the U.S. authorities and plenty of American corporations additionally do business with the Saudis. 

Either method, don’t neglect that, like Lefty, the PGA Tour only cares about the money too.

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