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Signing Jon Rahm 'a bridge' between PGA-LIV insists Mickelson

Phil Mickelson in action
Phil Mickelson in actionReuters
Phil Mickelson (53) sees a positive future between players from the PGA Tour and members of LIV Golf in the wake of Rory McIlroy's (34) move this week to cool already declining tensions between the parties.

Mickelson, one of the original defectors to LIV in June 2022, took to social media Thursday to give credit to McIlroy for his expanded viewpoint and note how Jon Rahm's (29) recent move to LIV helped bring the sides together.

"This quote and the many others made today by Rory probably weren't easy to say," Michelson said in his post to X. "Let's not use this as an opportunity to pile on. Rather, it's time for me and others to let go of our hostilities and work towards a positive future.

"Rahm's signing is turning into a bridge to bring both sides together, as evidenced by the many comments today and a month ago about changing the rules for the Ryder Cup so Jon and others can play, so let's use it as such. Until an agreement is reached it will be business as usual for both sides but hopefully without the needless disdain."

The "agreement" is a reference to the PGA Tour's announcement in June of a framework deal to merge with LIV. In November, McIlroy stepped down from the PGA Tour's policy board. The merger still is not complete, with reports that it might not end up happening as commissioner Jay Monahan looks into potential alternative revenue streams.

McIlroy, one of the most public defenders of the PGA Tour when so many players were defecting to LIV, publicly said this week that he has reassessed thoughts on the tensions that developed when LIV was getting its feet on the ground.

"I think, at this point, I was maybe a little judgmental of the guys who went to LIV Golf at the start, and I think it was a bit of a mistake on my part because I now realize that not everyone is in my position or in Tiger Woods' position," McIlroy said Tuesday, on the Stick to Football podcast.

"We all turn professional to make a living playing the sports that we do, and I think that's what I realized over the last two years. I can't judge people for making that decision," he added.

McIlroy does, however, take umbrage with players who jumped and were "talking crap" about the PGA Tour on the way out.

"I don't begrudge anyone for going and taking the money and doing something different, but don't try to burn the place down on your way out," he said.

McIlroy added that the entire episode has shown him that the PGA Tor's policies are not perfect, especially toward sponsors

"I think what LIV has done, it's exposed the flaws in the system of what golf has, because we're all supposed to be independent contractors and we can pick and choose what tournaments we want to play," McIlroy said.

"But I think what LIV and the Saudis have exposed is that you're asking for millions of dollars to sponsor these events, and you're not able to guarantee to the sponsors that the players are going to show up. I can't believe the PGA Tour has done so well for so long."

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