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Phil Mickelson: LIV Golf Provided ‘Leverage’ for PGA Tour Players

  • Mickelson: "I’m extremely happy that the top players are being listened to."
  • The PGA Tour announced a series of sweeping changes in August.
Jonathan Ferrey/LIV Golf via Getty Images

BOSTON — As Phil Mickelson approached the first tee — his third hole of the day due to LIV Golf’s shotgun start — he had an easy smile amidst the words of encouragement from the Boston gallery.

It could be because he finally feels like he’s making progress on the mission he set out to accomplish with his departure for LIV from the PGA Tour.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Mickelson expressed his pleasure with the sweeping changes to the Tour’s structure announced last week.

Among the updates is the expectation that the Tour’s top players will play in more FedEx Cup regular-season events and several elevated tournaments that will have an average purse of $20 million.

“They are getting a lot [of money] for it,” said Mickelson. “So I’m extremely happy that the top players are being listened to and that their input is being valued. And that those events are coming about.’’

While the 52-year-old wouldn’t go as far as saying he felt vindicated by the moves, he did recognize that the pressure from LIV was a huge factor in getting these changes to come about.

“Unless there was leverage, nothing was going to change,” he said. “All players should be appreciative of what LIV is doing. The players on LIV for the opportunity they are getting. And the PGA Tour for the leverage that was provided to get these changes done.’’

Mickelson and his team Hy Flyers GC are playing Round 1 of the LIV Golf Invitational Boston on Friday.