Mickelson: Expect more PGA Tour players to join LIV Golf

Mickelson: Expect more PGA Tour players to join LIV Golf
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DORAL, Fla. – The uneasy truce between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf that was born from June’s framework agreement may be challenged this off-season, according to Phil Mickelson.

“I know that’s going to happen,” Mickelson said when asked if he expected the “exodus” of Tour players to LIV to continue. “When players look at LIV, they are wanting to be a part of it. Everybody here is happy and enjoying what we are doing and enjoying the team aspect of it and enjoying each other and the camaraderie and enjoying playing golf globally and all the benefits that come with playing this tour.

“There’s a lot of players that see that and want to be a part of it. The question is how many spots are available? There’s a lot more players that want to come than there are spots.”

Mickelson was asked about the four LIV players who will be relegated from the league – Chase Koepka, Jed Morgan, Sihwan Kim and James Piot, who plays for Mickelson’s HyFlyers GC – and how teams plan to bring in new players.

“The reality is, I’ve been fielding calls, as we all have, from players that are agents to PGA Tour players to DP World Tour players that want to come over,” Mickelson said. “[Piot’s spot on the HyFlyers GC is] probably going to be filled by the time the qualifying tournament is here. If I’m just being truthful, that’s a very real possibility.”

The framework agreement allowed the Tour to begin negotiations with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund to create a new, for-profit entity that would somehow include the PGA Tour, LIV Golf and the European circuit. The original agreement called for both sides to stop recruiting the other tour’s players but that provision was dropped in July after the Department of Justice cautioned it could be considered an antitrust violation.

While the steady stream of Tour players to LIV Golf has largely stopped this year, Mickelson said the ongoing negotiations between the Tour and PIF could encourage more players to cross over to the start-up league.

“I think the merger talks allow for it,” he said. “I think it allows and kind of opens the door for that.”

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