Phil Mickelson Backtracks On PGA Tour 'Trending Downwards' Comments

Phil Mickelson has backtracked on comments he made two weeks ago about the PGA Tour "trending downwards"

Phil Mickelson talks to the media before the 2022 LIV Golf Team Championship
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson appears to have backtracked on comments he made about the PGA Tour earlier this month.

Just two weeks ago prior to LIV's Jeddah event, the American said: “I see LIV Golf trending upwards, I see the PGA Tour trending downwards, and I love the side that I’m on.” It's not the first time he has stuck the knife into the PGA Tour following a year of controversy, which saw him take a spell away from the game, missing both The Masters and his PGA Championship defence.

With the LIV Golf finale taking place at Trump National Doral in Florida this weekend, the 52-year-old offered a tamer response compared to his previous comments, even hinting that he may have regretted them.

“Maybe I shouldn't have said stuff like that, I don't know,” Mickelson said. “But if I'm just looking at LIV Golf and where we are today to where we were six, seven months ago and people are saying this is dead in the water, and we're past that, and here we are today, a force in the game that's not going away, that has players of this caliber that are moving professional golf throughout the world and the excitement level in the countries around the world of having some of the best players in the game of golf coming to their country and competing.”

No Laying Up tweeted after Phil’s press conference that there had been “a round of applause” in the media centre when he expressed how far LIV Golf has come this year. The Saudi-backed start-up only had its first event in June and has already enticed the likes of Dustin Johnson, Cameron Smith, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka over to the 54-hole series.

That tweet was disputed from on-site journalists, who stressed that clapping only came from LIV staff members. "To clarify - there were journalists there asking real questions," No Laying Up wrote. "And it wasn't a raucous applause and it definitely wasn't everyone. But there was audible clapping when Phil finished his statement." They also said there were 50-75 LIV members of staff in the room.

Mickelson's comments on the PGA Tour trending downwards were met with criticism from both World No.1 Rory McIlroy and World No.5 Jon Rahm. “I certainly don’t see the PGA Tour trending downward at all," McIlroy said, with Rahm saying: “I really don’t know why he said that. There’s been some changes being made, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going down, right? I truly don’t know why he said that."

Phil Mickelson takes on Cameron Smith in a singles match on day one of this week's LIV Golf Team Championship, where a total of $50m in prize money is up for grabs.

Ross Kilvington

Ross Kilvington is a freelance writer from Scotland who has had his work published by acclaimed publications such as Nutmeg alongside popular online blogs including the Gentleman Ultra, North Section and Engrossed in Football. Ross holds a passionate interest in golf and tries to play as often as possible, although having two daughters under the age of four means his quest to break 80 will have to wait a little bit longer. He writes about golf in his spare time, most recently having an article published in the Golf Memories anthology Mind the Links, which was released in July with all proceeds going towards Alzheimer charities. With a handicap that floats between 13-14, highlights are few and far between on the golf course, with an eagle on the par 4 16th at Kinghorn one that stands out (it doesn’t matter that it was only 290 yards!).