Ever since the PGA Tour announced increased prize money and four new Elevated Events, one question has been on everyone’s lips: Was Phil Mickelson right?
Ahead of his collaborations with LIV Golf and Saudi Arabia, Mickelson accused the PGA Tour of obnoxious greed over each player’s media rights.
He said the tour was set for “hundreds of millions of digital moments,” and Lefty also claimed that the tour forced him to pay $1 million for each participation in The Match.
It was this fear that prompted the six-time major champion and the sport’s oldest major champion to break free and become a pioneer of the LIV Golf Invitational Series.
Perhaps the 52-year-old was right. Each of the four new Elevated events will have $20 million in prize money, and the biggest tournaments like the Arnold Palmer Invitational, The Players Championship and the Memorial Tournament have also seen huge prize money increases.
for the good of all, @PhilMickelson FRY the #PGATour in his post round for “magically found a few hundred million!” @LIVLaffGolf @LIVGolfUpdates #LIVGolf
decency @Tengolf_en youtube. pic.twitter.com/gCK6RPhrH7
— Jamal (@NotDrJ) September 4, 2022
The 2023 FedEx Cup bonus pool is $75 million. Mickelson referenced the money the PGA Tour put into their 2023 schedule following the second round of the LIV Golf Boston Invitational.
“The fans benefit a lot from it, but all professional golfers benefit a lot from it. The players on the tour are playing for a lot more money. It’s great that they magically found a few hundred million. That’s great,” Mickelson said.
Despite the recklessness of Mickelson’s words, the threat of LIV Golf has forced the PGA Tour hand to secure the future of its best players and essentially pay players more.
The 2023 Player Impact Program has been expanded to include the top 20 players who will receive a share of $100,000,000. Additionally, the Earnings Assurance Program guarantees a league minimum of $500,000 per player for fully exempt members in the Korn Ferry Tour category and above, but they must attend a minimum of 15 events.
Certainly the manner in which Mickelson secured leverage and joined a new rebel league was questionable, but one could argue he has every right to be complacent.