Forget what you’ve heard. Sarcasm isn’t the lowest form of wit. In fact, when wielded by the right operator, it possesses the same cutting precision as a surgeon’s scalpel (and the potential to do far more damage). Such is the case with Phil Mickelson, who continues to wage a very public war against the PGA Tour as one of the LIV Golf Series’ poster boys.
After the second round of LIV Golf’s Boston event, Lefty took the gloves off to deliver the following bare-knuckled blow during his press commitments:
“I think the fans are getting a lot of benefit out of this, and all golfers, all professional golfers are getting a lot of benefit. The guys on the Tour are playing for a lot more money. It’s great that they magically found a couple hundred million — that’s awesome. Everybody is, I think, in a better position now than they were a year ago.”Phil Mickelson
Mickelson’s jab lands in the wake of PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan announcing an entire host of financial boosts for top players as a means of de-incentivising any further defections to the Saudi-backed rebel golf league: elevated events, expanding the Player Impact Program (doubled to award US$100 million to 20 players), guaranteed league-minimum earnings of US$500,000 for full PGA Tour members, travel stipends, and more.
“The changes, of course, will be funded primarily by exploding PGA Tour revenues thanks to the league’s new media rights deals and secondarily by the ‘Tour reserves,'” explains James Colgan of Golf.
“The reserves, which take a small chunk of the Tour’s annual revenues and are eventually returned in full to players, are footing only a small portion of the bill, according to the Tour.”
“The reserves typically act like a savings account to keep the Tour solvent in the event of a crisis (like, for example, the COVID-19 pandemic), though the commissioner retains the authority to release the money under his own discretion.”
Anyone who’s been following the PGA Tour vs LIV Golf saga for some time now will understand what a full-circle moment this is, considering it’s always been about the media rights — at least according to Phil Mickelson. Speaking to Golf Digest earlier in the year, he cited it as his main grievance with the former.
“It’s not public knowledge, all that goes on, but the players don’t have access to their own media,” said Phil Mickelson.
“If the tour wanted to end any threat [from Saudi or anywhere else], they could just hand back the media rights to the players. But they would rather throw $25 million here and $40 million there than give back the roughly $20 billion in digital assets they control. Or give up access to the $50-plus million they make every year on their own media channel.”
“There are many issues, but that is one of the biggest. For me personally, it’s not enough that they are sitting on hundreds of millions of digital moments. They also have access to my shots, access I do not have.”
“They also charge companies to use shots I have hit. And when I did ‘The Match’ -there have been five of them – the tour forced me to pay them $1 million each time. For my own media rights.”
“That type of greed is, to me, beyond obnoxious.”
Something tells me this beef won’t be squashed anytime soon…