Phil Mickelson combative with reporter amid LIV Golf denial by OWGR

The Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) recently made an announcement that players on the LIV Golf tour will not receive rankings points, which has a significant impact on their ability to qualify for the four majors. This decision has sparked a response from players like Bryson DeChambeau, who voiced their dissatisfaction with the OWGR and suggested changes to how points are awarded for LIV Golf. Cameron Smith and Dustin Johnson also expressed their displeasure with the announcement. Golf analyst Trevor Immelman took to social media to share his thoughts on the matter, emphasizing the importance of complying with the requirements set by the world ranking organization.

LIV Golf differs from the PGA Tour in various ways, such as having 54-hole events instead of the usual 72-hole events, employing shotgun starts, having no cuts, and featuring only 48-man fields. These differences were cited by the OWGR as reasons for denying LIV Golf’s application for rankings points. Phil Mickelson, always known for speaking his mind, responded to Immelman’s tweet and made some interesting allegations as to why the LIV Golf tour wouldn’t receive points. Mickelson claimed that the OWGR decision was influenced by the fact that it’s a monopoly run by all the governing bodies, that the PGA Tour’s tv contract is based on OWGR criteria, that giving points to LIV Golf would weaken the Tour’s negotiating position, and that the Tour has borrowed against the tv deal, leading to immediate capital calls if the benchmarks are not met.

Immelman did not respond to Mickelson’s claims, but CBS Sports’ golf reporter Kyle Porter stepped in and engaged in a contentious back-and-forth with Mickelson. Porter questioned Mickelson’s assertion, suggesting that the major organizations prioritize protecting the Tour’s financial interests over the quality of their products. Mickelson retaliated by highlighting the large amounts of revenue generated by events compared to player payouts, asserting that the major organizations are indeed protecting themselves.

Porter continued to argue that excluding LIV Golf is detrimental to the quality of the sport and upholds a standard of governance. Mickelson responded by explaining how LIV Golf’s presence could eventually lead to all the best players joining the rival tour, giving LIV Golf control over player schedules and the ability to negotiate better revenue percentages for players. Mickelson firmly believes that LIV Golf supports players in ways that the PGA Tour did not.

Porter got in one last tweet when Mickelson didn’t respond, mentioning Augusta National Golf Club’s fear of LIV Golf lawyers referring to the Tour Championship as the “Super Bowl of golf” and denying OWGR points to Jed Morgan. He added that he agrees that majors should pay players more.

Mickelson, unlike many disappointed members of LIV Golf, wasn’t surprised by the OWGR’s decision. His views on the matter remain unchanged, and he firmly believes that LIV Golf offers better support for players. Mickelson’s take on the situation provides a glimpse into the mindset of this future Hall of Fame golfer.

Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through, where you can find more golf coverage. You can follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports. Don’t forget to check out @_PlayingThrough as well.


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