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There is no denying that Phil Mickelson has played a major role in changing the world of professional golf, both past and present, and he knows it.
Mickelson was the key disruptor for LIV Golf when the Saudi-backed circuit was first introduced with his “scary motherf–kers” statement certainly standing out. The lefty deserves credit – if that’s the right word – for building LIV into what it has become which, in turn, has forced the hand of the PGA Tour to make significant changes to the way it operates.
One of the biggest changes the Tour has made in a direct response to LIV Golf has been the introduction of larger-pursed elevated events. Beginning next season, some of the elevated events won’t even feature a cut, which means a guaranteed payday for each player who qualifies to tee it up.
Phil Mickelson Wants, And Deserves, Some Credit
With LIV getting set to wrap up its second season and the Tour’s changes now set in stone, Mickelson is comfortable giving himself a pat on the back for being the catalyst that helped make those changes happen.
“There are two areas of professional golf that I worked hard on and they weren’t going to happen until LIV, which was a team aspect and elevated events, because the fans need to see the best players play against each other more often,’’ Mickelson told the New York Post ahead of this week’s LIV event at Trump Bedminster.
“I worked very hard on both of those prior [to LIV] and it was made very clear [by the PGA Tour] that those were not going to come about … because it was believed to be [by the PGA Tour] that LIV wasn’t going to happen. And now that it has happened, those changes have been made”
“Prior to this, Jay [Monahan, PGA Tour commissioner] and I had three four-hour meetings and all the notes I look back on from those meetings, I would say 85-to-90 percent of them are happening, and I think that’s really cool and I’m happy for the PGA Tour and I wish them all the best.’’
While Mickelson essentially naming himself captain of the ship that set sail to change professional golf forever may rub some the wrong way, that doesn’t make the situation any less true.
Mickelson has certainly stumbled multiple times over the last two and a half years or so before LIV even got off the ground, but looking back on it, anyone denying that he didn’t play a key role in shifting the sport into what it is today isn’t living in reality.
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris