Phil Mickelson claims LIV Golf 'here to stay' in call for truce between sport's factions




Phil Mickelson claims LIV Golf
Phil Mickelson claims LIV Golf 'here to stay' in call for truce between sport's factions - GETTY IMAGES  

Greg Norman will surely raise his eyebrows, but Phil Mickelson believes LIV and the traditional Tours should "come together".

On a weekend in which so many of the game's big names are doing battle at different venues, with different formats and with different agendas, one of the principle characters in golf's civil war has made his first plea for peace, pointing out to the PGA Tour that their monopoly on the elite players is over.

"The PGA Tour, for the last 20 or 30 years have had all the best players in the world. That will never be the case again. LIV Golf is here to stay," Mickelson said at the LIV event in Chicago. "The best solution is for us to come together."

This will be news to Norman, the LIV chief executive, who on Monday declared that his offer to negotiate with the PGA Tour has lapsed.  "We now have no interest in sitting down with them,  because our product is working," he said.

Jay Monahan, the PGA Tour commissioner, has been consistent in refusing to meet the Saudi-funded breakaway circuit.

However, with Dustin Johnson and Cam Smith going into Saturday's second round standing at one and two on the leaderboard, the scale and nature of the split is becoming increasingly evident.

Mickelson is correct in his claim that the Tour's product will suffer because of LIV and made a case for the conflicting parties to enter discussions and combine to compliment each other's strengths.

"I think that the world of professional golf has a need for the old 'history of the game' product that the PGA Tour provides," he said. "I think that LIV provides a really cool, updated feel that is attracting a lot of younger crowds."

If Mickelson has been the poster boy for LIV then there is no doubt that McIlroy has emerged as the most vocal protagonist for the traditionalists.  And his debut at the Italian Open has raised the Rome event to a new level, drawing sizeable crowds in an environment not known for its dedication to golf.

With the Ryder Cup being staged at the Marco Simone Country Club next year, the DP World Tour - formerly the European Tour - has understandably  been keen to increase the sport's profile in Italy and not only has McIlroy done his bit, but so too has Matt Fitzpatrick, the Yorkshireman who won this year's US Open.

Heading into Sunday's final round, Fitzpatrick leads on 10-under after a third round 69, with McIlroy (71) one behind, alongside another Englishman in Aaron Rai (65).

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