Phil Mickelson says he’s “on the winning side” after entering the controversial LIV Golf series




CNN

Veteran golfer Phil Mickelson says he’s “on the winning side” amid the dispute between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour.

The 52-year-old was involved in the controversial Saudi-sponsored breakout series earlier this year, which has caused a huge rift in professional golf.

LIV golfers are banned from the PGA Tour and the two bodies are embroiled in an ongoing legal battle.

“I think you have to choose a side going forward. You have to pick which side you think it’s going to take,” Mickelson told reporters at the LIV Golf Invitational Series in Jeddah on Thursday.

“I firmly believe that I am on the winning side of how things will evolve and shape professional golf in the coming years.”

In August, the LIV series came under fire for some of its players, with the PGA Tour reportedly threatening to impose lifetime bans on players participating in the LIV golf series, adding that “unprecedented suspensions” were imposed on them.

The lawsuit alleges that the PGA Tour has threatened sponsors, vendors and agents to force players to give up opportunities to play in LIV Golf events and to give up access to their members.

The PGA Tour filed a countersuit in late September, claiming “harmful interference with the Tour’s contracts with its members.”

Mickelson, who was among the players who dropped LIV Golf’s lawsuit against the PGA Tour, added: “Until both sides sit down and have a conversation and work something out, both sides will continue to change and evolve.”

The LIV Golf series is backed by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia – the sovereign wealth fund headed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the man who was named in charge of approving the operation brought in by US intelligence. The murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. Bin Salman has denied involvement in Khashoggi’s murder.

A 2021 interview with author Alan Shipnuck cited six-time major winner Mickelson as having made disparaging comments about Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and the kingdom’s confirmation that Khashoggi was killed.

He has since claimed the comments were off the record (a claim Shipnuck denied) and said they were shared out of context and without his permission.

Mickelson says he is now happy to have joined the lucrative series.

When American Dustin Johnson clinched the season-opening LIV Golf singles championship this week, he won $18 million.

“I see LIV Golf on the up, I see the PGA TOUR on the down and I love where I’m at…I love the way they involve us and listen to the decisions,” added Mickelson.

“It’s so inclusive, it’s so fluid the things LIV Golf drives.”