Phil Mickelson Seeks Release to Join Rival Tour

    • Phil Mickelson has requested a release from the PGA Tour to join LIV Golf's first tournament.
    • Up to 20 others have done the same.

Phil Mickelson could compete in both the PGA Tour’s flagship events and the inaugural tournament of the Saudi-backed breakaway LIV Golf league, if granted permission.

Mickelson requested a release from the PGA Tour to play in LIV Golf’s event in June at the Centurion Club near London. He also signed up for the PGA Championship and the U.S. Open

Sergio Garcia, Robert Garrigus, and up to 20 others, possibly including 15th-ranked Louis Oosthuizen, have reportedly requested releases for the tournament, which carries a $25 million purse. 

The requests present the climax of the drama stirred by Mickelson’s support for LIV Golf.

  • After initially threatening lifetime bans, the PGA Tour shifted to grant conditional waivers to LIV’s tournaments.
  • Reports from earlier this month stated that Bubba Watson, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, and Kevin Na were set to join LIV.
  • LIV’s June event conflicts with the PGA Tour’s Canadian Open, which has an $8.7 million purse.

LIV’s schedule includes five U.S. tournaments, plus one each in Bangkok and Jeddah, with prize purses totaling over $250 million. 

Lefty’s Turn

Mickelson turned heads in February after the release of an interview with author Alan Shipnuck in which he stated plainly that he was aware of Saudi Arabia’s poor human rights record, but saw the breakaway league as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates.”

Mickelson’s comments led sponsors including Heineken-owned Amstel Light, KPMG, and Workday to break ties with the golfer. Callaway “paused” its partnership with Mickelson.