Phil Mickelson foresees LIV Golf change sure to earn Masters, major bids

Everyone knows that LIV Golf facilitates 54-hole events, similar to the PGA Tour Champions.

But major championships, like this week’s Masters Tournament, are played over 72 holes—similar to other prominent circuits around the world, like the PGA Tour.

Hence, the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR), which helps determine major championship fields, does not award LIV Golf OWGR points. Other reasons, such as player relegation and promotion, have played into this decision, but the 54-hole structure is one big factor why.

As such, six-time major champion Phil Mickelson, who also helped give LIV Golf some notoriety, predicts a key change will take place soon.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if some or all of LIV events went to 72,” Mickelson said after his final round at Augusta National.

“I don’t think it matters either way. Each competitive round is an opportunity to progress and get better. There are guys out on Tour who play only 36 holes. A lot of guys only played 36 this week. Every competitive round is an opportunity to play well and compete. I don’t think it makes a difference either way.”

LIV Golf

Phil Mickelson and Jon Rahm at the 151st Open Championship.
Photo by Glyn Kirk/Getty Images

Interestingly, ahead of this week’s Masters, defending champion Jon Rahm called for a similar change.

“If there ever was a way where LIV could go to 72 holes, I think it would help all of this argument a lot,” Rahm said.

“The closer I think we can get LIV Golf to some other things, the better. I think it would be for some kind of unification to feed into a world tour or something like that. I don’t know if I’m alone in this, but I definitely wouldn’t mind going back to 72 holes.”

Of course, the PGA Tour and LIV Golf remain split, despite stakeholders on either side working towards an agreement that would unite professional golf once again. As Rahm alluded to, switching to 72 holes may help speed up negotiations and establish a new structure.

Or, perhaps the OWGR comes to recognize LIV Golf and award the Saudi-backed circuit points. If that does happen, it would open up pathways for LIV players to earn their way into major championships, which is currently not a possibility.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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