Phil Mickelson has been struggling for form since joining LIV Golf in 2022, but the six-time major champion has regularly defended the controversial series against the likes of Rory McIlroy
Phil Mickelson’s LIV Golf playing career may be over just 18 months after warning Rory McIlroy that the breakaway series is ‘a force in the game that’s not going away’.
When LIV Golf first emerged as a potential rival to the PGA Tour, Mickelson began the player exodus and pledged his loyalty to the Saudi-backed league ahead of its inaugural event in June 2022. Since then, the six-time major winner has been an ever-present on the controversial circuit – but it appears his playing days could soon be over.
According to Mickelson’s biographer Alan Shipnuck, the 53-year-old’s next contract with LIV Golf could be one as a non-playing captain. Each of the team captains were handed a four-year deal from LIV commissioner Greg Norman, and players will reportedly re-enter negotiations with LIV towards the end of 2025.
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If Mickelson steps away from playing at the end of his contract, it will mean he enjoyed a lucrative, yet short, spell with LIV Golf. He has been a staunch defender of the series against the likes of McIlroy; the Northern Irishman has been perhaps the biggest detractor of LIV Golf, while Mickelson has led the way in speaking out against the PGA Tour.
Back in October 2022, Mickelson spoke of LIV Golf’s long-term ambitions, saying: “If I’m just looking at LIV Golf and where we are today to where we were six months ago and people are saying this is dead in the water. We’re past that, and here we are today, a force in the game that’s not going away. It’s pretty remarkable how far LIV Golf has come in the last six, seven months. I don’t think anybody can disagree with that.”
While his stance has soften in the wake of merger talks, McIlroy has vehemently opposed LIV Golf since its controversial launch over the last two years, resisting as several stars signed for eye-watering sums. The divide between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf deepened recently as Jon Rahm became the latest big name to defect in favor of the breakaway tour backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
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Rahm’s shock switch was accelerated by the shock announcement in June that LIV Golf was set to sensationally merge with the PGA Tour, and it appears McIlroy is now ready to accept the breakaway tour. Mickelson was correct in his assessment of LIV Golf’s long-term future but it seems he is not as involved as he perhaps foresaw.
In 20 events on the LIV circuit, Mickelson has just two top-10 finishes to his name. The six-time major champion has struggled to replicate the form that made him one of the sport’s greatest players during his time on the PGA Tour.
Mickelson remains one victory away from the career Grand Slam, with the U.S. Open proving to be the only major championship eluding him. In February 2022, the American outlined his retirement plans with the key caveat as he told Golf Digest : “If I win the US Open, I will retire.
“That would be my last tournament. I will have achieved the career Grand Slam and I won’t have anything more to prove.”