DORAL, Fla. – One of the last people you’d expect Phil Mickelson to quote after a lost match at the 2023 LIV Golf Team Championship would be a PGA Tour board member, right? Well, that’s precisely what happened Friday at Trump National Doral.
Mickelson, the captain of the HyFlyers GC, got drubbed by Smash GC’s Brooks Koepka, 6 and 4, in Friday’s quarterfinal round of the upstart circuit’s $50 million finale. After the round, when asked about his quote earlier in the week that he “knows” more talent is coming to LIV Golf, Mickelson doubled down and invoked a quote from PGA Tour board member Jimmy Dunne.
During a congressional hearing to discuss the groundbreaking framework agreement between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund – LIV’s financial backer – Dunne said if LIV continued to lure just five PGA Tour players per year to its ranks then “in five years, they can gut us.”
Mickelson refused to give any names or detail how many new players may be joining, but he couldn’t help but smile when talking about the new blood joining his team.
“I’m excited about who’s coming for next year and over time, we’ll just keep getting better and better and getting better and better players and that’s the game plan and I love the commitment. I love that I’m a part of it,” Mickelson told Golfweek after his match. “I know that, just like Jimmy Dunne said in Congress, like it’s exactly what’s gonna happen.”
Similar claims were made around Trump National Doral last year about an influx of new talent joining for 2023, and that amounted to the likes of Dean Burmester, Danny Lee, Sebastian Munoz, Thomas Pieters, Mito Pereira and Brendan Steele, who, with all due respect, don’t quite move the needle in LIV’s direction. Mickelson believes the framework agreement opens the door for better talent to make the jump to LIV.
“The reality is I’ve been fielding calls, as we all have, from players that are free agents to PGA Tour players to DP World Tour players that want to come over and the spots probably going to be filled by the time the qualifying tournament is here,” Mickelson said earlier in the week. “I think the merger talks allow for it. I think it kind of opens the door for it, yeah.”
RELATED: Phil Mickelson says Tiger Woods joining PGA Tour policy board is ‘awesome news’ despite LIV Golf ties
The offseason transfer window opens Monday, and LIV officials envision four to six spots being open across its current 12 teams. With its shotgun start format, the league can accommodate up to 15 teams, which would open the door for more players to join its ranks. Until then, we wait and see.