World Rankings 'No Longer A Credible Way' Of Selecting Major Fields - Phil Mickelson

The six-time Major champion thinks that alternative ways could be explored to ensure that LIV players can qualify for Majors despite tumbling world rankings

Phil Mickelson speaks at a LIV Golf Singapore press conference
Phil Mickelson says it's in the best interest of the Majors to have LIV players in the field, but a new way to qualify might be needed
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson says that the Official World Golf Ranking is "no longer a credible way" of selecting Major championship fields, suggesting that there could be new criteria for how LIV players, who are mostly all falling down the OWGR, qualify for the four men's Majors.

Lefty tees it up in Singapore this week at the fifth stop of the 2023 LIV Golf League, and he's finding form after a stunning final round 65 at Augusta National earned him a T2nd finish at The Masters. He was 16th in Adelaide last week for his best result of the LIV season so far.

Mickelson, a three-time Masters champion and six-time Major winner, was asked about LIV's ongoing quest for OWGR sanctioning, with the league not yet able to award points despite submitting its request last year.

He says the ranking points issue is going to iron itself out but is worried that the OWGR isn't going to be inclusive, suggesting that the four Majors will have to to find another way of inviting LIV players who are rapidly sliding down the rankings as it's in the best interest of the Majors to have LIV players.

As it stands, many of LIV's players who haven't won Majors in the last five years or feature in the world's top 50 will struggle to gain Major starts. 

"Yeah, it's going to all iron itself out because if you're one of the Majors, if you're the Masters, you're not looking at 'we should keep these guys out'," he said.

"You're saying to yourself, 'we want to have the best field, we want to have the best players, and these guys added a lot to the tournament this year at the Masters. How do we get them included?'

"We have to come up with a qualifying mechanism that is inclusive, and if the World Golf Ranking isn't going to be inclusive, then they have to find another way. Maybe they take the top 5 or top 10 or winners of LIV, but they're going to have to find a way to get the best LIV players in their field if they want to have the best field in golf and be really what Major championship is about. So they're already looking at that.

"If the World Golf Rankings doesn't find a way to be inclusive, then the Majors will just find another way to include LIV because it's no longer a credible way. So it will all iron itself out for the simple reason that it's in the best interest of everybody, especially the tournaments, the Majors, to have the best players."

Mickelson holes his putt at the 18th hole and fist pumps

Mickelson birdied the 72nd hole to finish T2nd at the 2023 Masters

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mickelson is LIV's highest profile player, having controversially joined the new Saudi-backed league at its inception for a fee rumored to be around the $200m mark. He says that LIV having big names and characters is a real "asset" and that more countries are wanting LIV events following the success of Adelaide last week.

"That's a big asset [LIV's big names and characters] that LIV has being able to show and guarantee who's going to be there," he said.

"Now a lot of other countries are wanting us to go there, so it was a big step in Adelaide in showcasing what it can be, what LIV Golf can be, and how much fun it can be and how much fun the people have with a different energy and vibe to professional golf, and it's just going to take off from here.

"There's no stopping LIV Golf now. It's on a vertical trajectory, and it's pretty exciting to be a part of it."

Following his T2nd at Augusta National, Mickelson is clearly loving where his game is and said that mentoring his Hy Flyers team of Cameron Tringale, Brendan Steele and James Piot is "100 per cent" making him a better golfer. He says he expects to contend in many of the upcoming events.

"It is 100 percent making me better and 100 percent helping me get back to a level of play that I believe I can play at, and I think I'm going to give myself quite a few chances now in some upcoming Majors because my game is coming around, my driving is getting significantly better, my putting is getting significantly better, and the areas of my game are getting much sharper," he said.

"Although I haven't had the results for a long period of time, it is on an upward trend, and I'm looking to add to it this week. With a stretch of a lot of golf coming up in the next three, four months and a lot of great Major championship opportunities with my game coming around, I expect to participate and compete and contend in these events.

"Again, I have a unique opportunity to do things in a game at a later point in life that many aren't because of the simple reason that I've kept myself in good shape, I have been fairly injury free, and I'm able to work and practice the necessary amount to play at a high level."

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV