No, A PGA Tour vs. LIV Golf Team Event Is Not Going To Happen, No Matter How Tasty It Might Be
Golf Twitter's been salivating for months at the possibility of a PGA Tour vs. LIV Golf competition in the mold of the Ryder Cup. As last week's kerfuffle between Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy proved, there is legitimate animosity in golfing circles, and everyone loves conflict. As such, we've been seeing tweets like these all year.
Of course, this is not going to happen. The PGA Tour and LIV Golf are quite literally suing each other as we speak, and the PGA Tour has shown precisely zero willingness to collaborate with LIV Golf on anything. Which, of course, makes sense—LIV Golf is coming for its players and trying to loosen its hegemonic grip on top-level professional golf. Coca-Cola isn't going to cooperate with Pepsi. Plus, there's no win here for the PGA Tour. Collaborating with LIV would mean acknowledging LIV as a worthy adversary. There's also the golf side—as of now, it's widely believed that the PGA Tour still has the better set of players. Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth are all still playing their golf there. Losing to LIV, then, would poke a massive hole in that theory. Again, it's just not going to happen.
BUT, let's imagine it did. Here's my guess on how the teams would look at the minute. Let's also assume it's 12 on 12, like the Ryder Cup is.
Team PGA Tour - captained by Tiger Woods
That's a murderer's row, all of whom are in the top 20 of the world rankings. Granted, the world rankings aren't perfect by any means—LIV events don't offer points, which means LIV guys are continuously sliding down—but that's one helluva lineup. And that's not even including Sungaje Im, Cameron Young, Hideki Matsuyama, Sam Burns, Tom Kim, Shane Lowry, etc…
Now, the LIV side.
Team LIV - captained by Phil Mickelson
Not too shabby in the slightest, and it's another reminder of just how many good players LIV has been able to sign. Lee Westwood, Marc Leishman, Bubba Watson and Harold Varner III would be your first four out here.
Despite a strong LIV team, the PGA Tour side would be a sizable favorite. Lefty, for one, isn't phased.
He's obviously joking, but he's right about one thing. It's not happening at this time. The PGA Tour has zero to gain.
It's not the only shit Phil's been talking on Twitter. After a long social-media (and real-life) hiatus after his LIV move, Phil is back in troll mode. Here he is calling out some of the PGA Tour's leaders.
Here he is calling out what he sees as pure hypocrisy.
And here he is poking fun at his longtime rival, Mr. Woods.
Now, why is Phil doing all this? It's a fair question. His stock reached arguably an all-time high after his monumental victory at Kiawah in 2021, when he won the PGA Championship to become the oldest major winner in history. He could've rode off into the sunset, secured a big-money broadcast deal, and morphed into one of the game's elder statesmen just as Nicklaus and Palmer did.
"I don’t know why I took it on," Mickelson told Sports Illustrated's Bob Harig in a recent interview. "It bothered me so much, and it's because of what I know. I feel this freedom now that kind of lets me let go of that and to focus on what I truly love and what I’m excited about."
Translation: he simply couldn't help himself. He loves being in the thick of the action, and there's no looking back now. Mickelson is deeply invested in LIV Golf. It's a massive part of his legacy, for better or for worse. For what it's worth, he seems confident that he will be vindicated in the end and be viewed as pioneering figure who pushed golf forward. And he believes that shift in public perception will come soon.
Mickelson's tweets are indicative of the wild times we're living through in golf at the minute—all-time greats calling out other all-time greats over social media. There are some players, notably Jon Rahm, calling for all this pettiness to stop. But when the face of LIV Golf is out here talking shit in the replies, it's unlikely to happen. Just like that PGA Tour vs. LIV Golf competition.