Mickelson And LIV Golf Spreading ‘Propaganda’


Rory McIlroy accused LIV Golf and its most prominent player, Phil Mickelson, of spreading a false, winning narrative about the controversial new Saudi-funded tour—which remains without a major broadcast partner or sponsor—as the tension between the tours continues to boil.

Key Facts

McIlroy said at a Wednesday press conference there’s a “ton of propaganda being used” by LIV, which has been accused of being a deep-pocketed public relations campaign to clean up the image of the Saudi regime guilty of human rights violations.

McIlroy then singled out the six-time major winner Mickelson, saying nobody who “takes a logical view of the game of golf” would make comments like Mickelson, who said last week LIV is “trending upwards” while the PGA Tour is “trending downwards,” beaming he loves “the side that I’m on.”

“I don’t think anyone that takes a logical view of the game of golf can agree” with Mickelson’s evaluation of the professional golf landscape, McIlroy said Wednesday.

Though LIV has successfully lured many of the best-known golfers away from the PGA Tour, McIlroy has a point: LIV has yet to secure a major media rights deal or a major sponsorship agreement from a company not also backed by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund and has seen steadily declining viewership for the online broadcasts of its tournaments.

Key Background

LIV burst onto the scene earlier this year, hosting its first-ever tournament in June and signing notable Americans like Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka and the 52-year-old Mickelson, and the Australian world No. 3 Cameron Smith. LIV and PGA leadership and players are amidst a bitter rivalry, with the PGA Tour suspending anybody who plays in a LIV event and LIV suing the tour for allegedly violating federal antitrust laws.

Surprising Fact

Mickelson made $95 million more than McIlroy last year, per our calculations, and largely because of the large fee paid to him by LIV. Mickelson was the highest-paid golfer with $138 million in earnings on and off the course, while McIlroy came in at No. 6 with $43 million in earnings, trailing only Tiger Woods among PGA Tour loyalists.

Crucial Quote

“I truly don’t know what drove him to say something like that,” world No. 5 Jon Rahm said about Mickelson at a Wednesday press conference.


McIlroy may be LIV’s most vocal notable detractor, but he’s also a strong advocate for change at the PGA Tour and negotiations between the rival tours. Last month, McIlroy said he’s “all for getting around the table and sorting things out.’’ McIlroy said Wednesday he believes the PGA Tour, which plays 47 weekends per year, has an “oversaturated” schedule, which he thinks should more closely resemble the schedule of the NFL, which plays a 23-week regular season and postseason schedule.

Further Reading

The World’s Highest-Paid Golfers 2022: LIV Golf Reshuffles Top Earners And Sends Pay Soaring (Forbes)

Phil Mickelson claims LIV Golf is trending upwards vs. PGA Tour, but numbers paint a different picture (CBS Sports)

‘They’ve Made Their Bed’: McIlroy Continues Crusade Against LIV Golf (Forbes)

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/dereksaul/2022/10/19/rory-mcilroy-mickelson-and-liv-golf-spreading-propaganda/