Phil Mickelson: ‘Couldn’t be happier’ with move to Saudi-backed LIV Golf series

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Phil Mickelson said Thursday he “couldn’t be happier” with his move to leave the PGA Tour and join the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series.

Speaking after shooting an even-par 72 in the first round of The Open Championship at St. Andrews, Mickelson said joining the tour was the proper one - even it meant taking the criticism of his longtime rival, Tiger Woods, and a few others.

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“I made the right decision for me,” Mickelson said. “And I’m excited about, like I say, having the opportunity to play competitive golf and have it in my life in a more moderate scale to where I can do some things outside of that, too.”

While Mickelson hasn’t disclosed how much he’s been paid to play LIV Golf, Bryson DeChambeau said he will earn more than $125 million through the 2026 season.

The players have also been attracted by a less-rigorous tour schedule.

Woods said Tuesday that, in his opinion, those who had left the PGA Tour for LIV Golf had done wrong. Mickelson said Thursday he disagreed with Woods.

“I certainly respect his opinion,” Mickelson, 52, said. “I have a lot of respect for him. I respect his opinion. I think everybody’s going to have strong emotions and opinions about it, and I certainly respect his.”

The Open is celebrating its 150th anniversary this week and threw a pair of commemorative events earlier this week.

Mickelson said he is content with his situation and looking forward to the next LIV Golf event at the end of July at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey.

“I couldn’t be happier. I think it’s been really good,” he said. “I can’t wait to get to New Jersey and play another event there. The player experience, the experience of those events from a player standpoint is a 10. You can’t get it any better. Look, it’s not my job to explain or help you understand or whatever. It’s just, I couldn’t be happier.”

Read more: US probing PGA Tour as it fights off rival LIV Golf

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