Despite the many wrangles since, it was Phil Mickelson who initially mentioned using LIV Golf as ‘leverage’ against the ‘restrictions’ of the PGA Tour.
In the infamous interview with golf journalist Alan Shipnuck, Lefty was clear in his reasoning for considering the Saudi-backed league, saying:
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates,” adding, “They’ve been able to get by with manipulative, coercive, strong-arm tactics because we, the players, had no recourse. As nice a guy as [Jay 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. I’m not sure I even want [the SGL] to succeed, but just the idea of it is allowing us to get things done with the [PGA] Tour.”
Rumbles of players transferring to the Greg Norman-led tour have rarely ceased since, and last August, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan announced several and significant enhancements to the PGA Tour and its schedule – seen by many as a direct consequence of the financial rewards offered to those prepared to jump ship.
Mickelson has since been at pains to point out the apparent coincidence, and last week Butch Harmon revealed he viewed the situation similarly.
Harmon, who coached Mickelson for several years after splitting with Lefty’s great rival, Tiger Woods, appeared on an episode of the 5 Clubs podcast last week saying,
Just before the Tour Championship in September, Harmon was asked his view on players moving over to the rebel tour.
“I think the PR of the LIV has not been good,” he said. “The guys should have got together and be honest. This ‘I’m going to grow the game better’ – no, that has nothing to do with it; you’re not growing any game. They’re growing their bank accounts. Which every sportsman has the right to do – to get the best deal you can get.”
Although very much a pro-PGA Tour personality alongside the likes of Woods and Rory McIlroy, he is clear that he is not “anti-LIV Golf like a lot of people,” believing that the current crop should be grateful for the existence of the LIV organization, hinting, like Mickelson, that the changes came about only because of the creation of the Saudi tour.
Source : golfwrx