Phil Mickelson Claims PGA Tour Turned Down $1 billion Elevated Events Deal
Phil Mickelson says the PGA Tour rejected a $1 billion deal he brokered for elevated events as they thought LIV Golf was no threat
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Phil Mickelson says he brought a $1 billion sponsor and a plan for eight elevated events to PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan before he joined LIV Golf, but had the idea dismissed.
Many of the new changes on the PGA Tour are things that Mickelson had been championing, such as the Player Impact Program (PIP), big increases in prize money and now the new elevated events, which will become small-field, no-cut tournaments next year.
The six-time Major champion saw the threat of Greg Norman’s LIV Golf as a bargaining chip to bring about change, saying last year: “As nice a guy as (Monahan) comes across as, unless you have leverage, he won’t do what’s right. And the Saudi money has finally given us that leverage”.
Mickelson had tried to use the threat of LIV Golf as leverage to force Monahan into similar changes before he left to join Greg Norman’s outfit – but was shut down by the PGA Tour chief.
Before I left I brought a $1 billion commitment from a current PGATour partner to have 8 elevated events and give equity and ownership in these events to the players. JM’s quote was “ I don’t believe the league is going to happen so we won’t be doing that.” No vote,no discussionMarch 7, 2023
The 52-year-old claimed on Twitter that he had found a sponsor willing to stump up $1 billion to fund eight elevated events, with the players getting a stake in the tournaments, but says Monahan rejected the proposals as he thought LIV Golf would never take off.
“Before I left I brought a $1 billion commitment from a current PGA Tour partner to have 8 elevated events and give equity and ownership in these events to the players,” Mickelson wrote on Twitter.
“JM’s quote was “ I don’t believe the league is going to happen so we won’t be doing that.” No vote, no discussion.”
While some will doubt whether this claim is true or not, the sentiment of change being forced through by LIV certainly holds true, as the speed and size of the changes by the PGA Tour prove that they could well have been made sooner.
The likes of Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm have admitted that the emergence of LIV Golf has forced the PGA Tour to have a re-think and the results have been to make changes Mickelson would have very much welcomed before he joined LIV.
Many LIV Golf players have pointed out the irony in the PGA Tour changes mirroring what their company does on a regular basis, and you do wonder whether if Mickelson would have achieved even some of the changes he wanted whether it would have actually taken off in the first place.
What cannot be argued against is the monumental impact LIV Golf has had on the game, even if it has come at a cost with the sport split into factions that at the moment show no desire or capability of healing the rifts that now exist.
Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website. Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.
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