Phil Mickelson said on Monday that he had “earned” his lifetime membership to the PGA Tour and that he still had “hope” to play events again on the circuit from which he is now suspended.
Mickelson made the comments at Brookline, Mass., site of this week’s US Open, the only major Mickelson hasn’t won in his career. The USGA, organizer of the event, decided last week that Mickelson and the other players who defected to the new LIV Golf Invitational series would still be allowed to play.
It’s a choice that Mickelson said he should also be able to afford to play on the PGA Tour. He has won six majors and 45 PGA Tour events.
“I’ve worked hard to earn a lifetime membership,” Mickelson said during a 25-minute press conference. “I’ve worked hard to give back to the PGA Tour and the game of golf throughout my 30+ years of professional golf. And I’ve earned that lifetime membership, so I think that should be my choice.
“I very much appreciate the many memories, opportunities, experiences, friendships and relationships the PGA Tour has provided and these will last a lifetime,” said Mickelson, who turns 52 on Friday. “But hopefully I get the chance to create more.”
Mickelson comes out of a tie for 33rd place at last weekend’s inaugural LIV tournament in London. It was the first tournament Mickelson has taken part in since the Saudi international in February. His last PGA Tour event was the Farmers Insurance Open in January.
Mickelson was asked why he decided to join the LIV tour.
“I think there’s an incredible financial commitment evident,” said Mickelson, who, according to Golf Channel, reported last week that he received $200 million to join.
He also said he respects the strong opinions of Rory McIlroy and other golfers who have voiced their support for the PGA Tour.
“I certainly respect (McIlroy). I respect his ideas. I respect any player who chooses to stay on the PGA Tour,” Mickelson said. “I certainly think extremely well of many PGA Tour players and their right to their own decisions.”