Tiger Woods' caustic LIV Golf remarks at the Open Championship are addressed by Phil Mickelson: "I definitely respect his viewpoint"
Edinburgh, Scotland - After being contacted a few weeks ago by R&A representatives who advised him it wouldn't be a "great idea" for him to join the previous champions, Phil Mickelson made the decision not to attend Tuesday's Champions' Dinner at the 150th Open.
After shooting an even-par 72 in the first round at St. Andrews, Mickelson said Thursday, "I just didn't want to make a big deal about it, so I said fine." "It would be best if I didn't," we both kind of agreed.
The Champions' Dinner is only hosted at St. Andrews, and the 2013 Open champion, Phil Mickelson, was noticeably missing from a group that included featured Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Jordan Spieth.
Mickelson's absence wasn't wholly surprising because he is a part of the growing group of players who have abandoned the PGA Tour to play on LIV Golf, a contentious decision that has shattered the elite level of the game. Some of the biggest names in the sport are upset about this exodus, none more so than Tiger Woods, who claimed this week that he didn't "get" the appeal of the new league and thought that those players had "turned their back" on the circuit that has made them famous.
Regarding Woods, Mickelson stated, "I absolutely respect his opinion." I'm very impressed by him. I value his viewpoint. Everyone will likely have strong feelings and opinions about it, and I respect his.
Martin Slumbers, the chief executive of the R&A, also expressed his strong stance this week, saying that while he won't forbid LIV players in the future, he might envision a scenario in which the group changes its qualification standards, which may make it more difficult to qualify for The Open. Mickelson, 51, is currently qualified to compete in The Open to the age of 60 as a former champion.
Asked on Thursday if he thought it was "extremely unfortunate" that he was in this situation at the historic major - pushed to skip a dinner he had earned the right to attend and estranged from some of his peers - Mickelson became agitated with the reporter.
No, not at all, replied Mickelson. "I am beyond thrilled and excited about where I am. The [LIV] events are great. I get to play and compete in competitive golf on a level that is fun, interesting, and different while still having time to do the things outside that I want to do. So no, I couldn't be more content.
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