LIV Golf: Phil Mickelson calls the breakaway swing an “unfading force.”

Phil Mickelson has been an outspoken advocate for the LIV tour

Phil Mickelson called the LIV Golf Series “a powerhouse of the game that never goes away.”

The inaugural season ends this weekend with a $50m (£43m) team tournament at the Trump National club, near Miami.

Mickelson said LIV Golf exceeded expectations and was here to stay.

“If I’m looking at LIV Golf and where we are today compared to where we were six months ago and people are saying this is dead in the water,” he said.

“We got through it, and here we are today, a force in the game that will not disappear.

“It’s pretty remarkable how far LIV Golf has come in the last six, seven months. I don’t think anyone can disagree with that.”

The runaway series sponsored by Saudi Arabia has sparked controversy, with Rory McIlroy expressing fears of an “irreconcilable” divide in golf.

“This ‘us versus them’ thing has already gotten out of hand,” the Northern Irishman told him the guardexternal link.

“If both entities continue to double down in both directions, it’s going to become irreparable. We’re going to have a long-overdue sports rift. That’s not good for anybody.”

McIlroy described the runaway LIV tour as a “betrayal” and said he was concerned the series would jeopardize events such as the Ryder Cup.

Mickelson declined to directly respond to McIlroy’s comments during Wednesday’s media briefing, instead praising McIlroy’s season and promoting the format of the final event.

Play begins on Friday on the 18th hole at Doral, known as the ‘Blue Monster’, with 12 teams of four chasing the $16m (£13.7m) first place.

The bottom eight teams, as determined by results from the previous seven events, compete in games to decide who will play against the top four teams on Saturday.

For each head-to-head team competition, three games will be played: two individual competitions and one shootout (fours).

All 32 players will compete simultaneously in the shotgun start and matches will be played until the winner is determined. Each winning game receives one point, and the first team to get two points advances to Saturday’s finals.

Teams are led by popular major winners such as Dustin Johnson, Mickelson, Cameron Smith, Brooks Koepka, Sergio Garcia and Bryson DeChambeau.

“We’ve never had a team event like this in professional golf,” Mickelson said.

The American has previously said entering the LIV Golf Series that he has picked “the winning side” in the controversy that has dominated the sport this year.

“Until both sides sit down and have a conversation and work something out, both sides will continue to change and evolve,” Mickelson, who reportedly received a $200m (£176.3m) fee for joining LIV. he said earlier this month.

“I see LIV Golf going up, I see the PGA Tour going down and I love where I’m at.”

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