LIV Defectors Are Raking in Tournament Winnings, Except for Phil Mickelson

The 52-year-old averaged $144,309 in winnings on the PGA Tour but is bringing in an average of $141,667 through three LIV events

Phil Mickelson at the LIV Golf Invitational at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster.
Phil Mickelson has yet to find a groove while competing on the LIV Golf series.
Cliff Hawkins/Getty

No longer ranked within the top 100 in the Official World Golf Rankings after finishing out 2021 at No. 33 overall, Phil Mickelson (No. 101) has had a rough go of it since his defection from the PGA Tour to the Saudi-financed LIV Golf Series this year for an estimated $200 million.

After missing the cut in four of the six events he competed in before joining LIV, including the U.S. Open and British Open, the 52-year-old has not finished higher than 34th and has compiled scores of +10, +10 and +6 while competing in the series that has branded itself “Golf, But Louder.”

The biggest name of the 11 LIV players who have filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour, Mickelson is the only one out of the group who is making less money per tournament on average since joining the upstart circuit.

Of the 11 players who filed suit, Carlos Ortiz is raking in the most per tournament with average winnings of $1,712,500 per LIV tournament, a huge jump from his average of $48,450 on the PGA Tour. That’s an increase of 3,435% more per tournament, according to Bloomberg. In contrast, Mickelson is only bringing in an average of $141,667 through three LIV events after taking home an average of $144,309 in winnings on the PGA Tour. Considering LIV’s no-cut rule means every player is guaranteed at least $120,000 per tournament, Mickelson is really coming up short.

Mickelson, Ortiz and the rest of LIV’s litigators (Bryson DeChambeau, Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford, Matt Jones, Ian Poulter, Abraham Ancer, Pat Perez, Jason Kokrak and Peter Uihlein) are currently barred from competing in PGA Tour events. The lawsuit calls the ban part of the PGA Tour’s “carefully orchestrated plan to defeat competition.”

When the suit was filed, PGA Tour lead counsel Elliot Peters had the following response: “For enormous sums of cash supplied by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, plaintiffs willfully breached their agreements with the PGA Tour. The players’ purported harm is entirely self-induced. We will litigate this case vigorously to preserve the reputation of the PGA Tour and protect the benefits it offers to players.”

A hearing on the matter is set for today with the PGA Tour’s FedExCup playoffs scheduled to begin later this week.

“I believe players have the right to play when and where they choose so their talents can take them as far and high as possible,” LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman said in a statement. “I believe all players — whether they choose to play with LIV or the PGA Tour — understand and appreciate the purpose and importance of the players’ legal actions, across the globe. The PGA Tour is trying to cast this as ‘us’ against ‘them.’ The players know better.”


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