In his quest to get LIV Golf to qualify for world ranking points and be more widely accepted in the golf world, CEO Greg Norman said he has “no interest” in reaching a truce with the PGA Tour “because our product is working.”
But it doesn’t sound like everyone playing in his Saudi Arabia-funded breakaway league is taking the exact same stance.
Phil Mickelson, who came under significant fire as one of the first PGA golfers to defect to the rival league, said last week he hopes LIV Golf and the PGA can “come together” for “the good of the sport.”
“The PGA Tour, for the last 20 or 30 years, has had all the best players in the world. That will never be the case again. LIV Golf is here to stay,” Mickelson said, via ESPN. “The best solution is for us to come together. I think that the world of professional golf needs the old historical ‘history of the game’ product that the PGA Tour provides. I think that LIV provides a really cool, updated feel that is attracting a lot of younger crowds.
“Both are good for the game of golf and the inclusion of LIV Golf in the ecosystem of the golf world is necessary. As soon as that happens, we all start working together. It’s going to be a really positive thing for everyone.”
Of course, this doesn’t exactly sound like a peaceful compromise. Mickelson’s spiel sounds more like middle school-style peer pressure into convincing the PGA Tour to grovel and tell LIV Golf that it’s the “cooler” league.
Chances are, PGA commissioner Jay Monahan isn’t going to get strong-armed that easily.
It’s highly unlikely Mickelson’s bullying tactic and Norman’s cold shoulder maneuver gain them any favor with the established golf leagues — and it won’t gain them any other allies, either. Despite luring many of the best players in the game, LIV Golf still doesn’t qualify for world ranking points and major broadcasting services are refusing to carry its events. Plus, Norman will reportedly meet with U.S. lawmakers later this week regarding concerns about the league’s ties to Saudi Arabia.
It doesn’t look like Mickelson will get his “come together” moment any time soon. At least, not unless LIV Golf is going to do some groveling of its own.