In Phil Mickelson terms, it's been a quiet few months. But as LIV Golf rolls into its spiritual home of Saudi Arabia, the six-time major champ couldn't resist stoking old flames. George Cooper takes a closer look

Well, Phil Mickelson is back. And how.

Having been LIV Golf‘s mouthpiece for so long, Lefty has had – for him – a relatively quiet summer, choosing instead to let Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and others make a lot of noise. Each Greg Norman capture and each bitter ranking points controversy took golf’s so-called civil war to turbulent new heights while Mickelson just watched on from afar.

But now, the man who was a pivotal instigator in getting this much-maligned league up and running is back behind the microphone, dropping different kinds of bombs than we’re used to seeing from the six-time major champion.

In what can only be described as one of the most surreal, ludicrous, and uproarious press conferences, certainly in recent memory, Mickelson took the stand before LIV Golf Jeddah and created headline upon headline in pursuit of defending his new turf.

Let’s try and break it all down…

The PGA Tour assault

He’s been the king of keeping tight-lipped on the PGA Tour front ever since they embarked on a war with LIV Golf. But now – perhaps ignited by a recent string of improved performances in the breakaway league – Mickelson made it perfectly clear what he thinks of Jay Monahan with this all-out assault…

“For a long, long time, [during] my 30 years on the PGA Tour, pretty much all the best players played on the PGA Tour. That will never be the case again. I think going forward you have to pick a side. You have to pick what side you think is going to be successful.

“And I firmly believe that I’m on the winning side of how things are going to evolve and shape in the coming years for professional golf.

“We play against a lot of the best players in the world on LIV and there are a lot of the best players in the world on the PGA Tour. And until both sides sit down and have a conversation and work something out, both sides are going to continue to change and evolve. And I see LIV Golf trending upwards, I see the PGA Tour trending downwards.”

Ouch. No wonder Lefty pulled the plug on wanting to return to the American circuit.

The LIV Golf victory lap

Not content with torching his former pals in Ponte Vedra, it was the onto the LIV Golf love train, where Mickelson romanticised about Norman’s league…

“I love the side that I’m on. I love how I feel. I love how I’m reinvigorated and excited to play golf and compete. I love the experience. I love the way they treat us.

“I love the way they involve us and listen to us in decisions. I mean it’s so inclusive, it’s so fluid that things, LIV Golf is leading. Whether it’s shorts, whether it’s other aspects of professional golf that are going to change and evolve, those positions will be led by LIV.”

Someone pass the bucket.

LIV Golf Invitational schedule

Phil Mickelson and Greg Norman

The surreal denial

Now onto the drama, and the bombshell which has had everyone thinking, ‘Wait, what?’ over the past 24 hours. Back in February, Mickelson’s “scary motherf***ers” comments about Saudi Arabia sent shockwaves across the golf world when journalist Alan Shipnuck published his notorious interview with the left-hander.

But now – having already retreated to saying the interview was “off the record”, Mickelson has gone one further, denying there was an interview with Shipnuck altogether…

“I will reiterate, I never did an interview with Alan Shipnuck. And I find that my experience with everybody associated with LIV Golf has been nothing but incredibly positive and I have the utmost respect for everybody that I’ve been involved with.”

With everyone speculating who’s right and wrong, Shipnuck was then forced to respond to the controversy as the saga continues…

The hilarious henna

And finally, as if the press conference couldn’t get any wilder, Mickelson was also dropping all this heat while simultaneously rocking the worst tattoo we think we’ve ever seen…

“It was supposed to be this [pointing to his logo]. Didn’t really turn out that way. It’s not permanent though. So it was just something we had last night at the dinner there. There was some people making little painting on little henna tattoos, so I went for it.”

Fortunately the ‘tattoo’ isn’t permanent – unlike Phil’s scathing remarks of the PGA Tour – but that still didn’t stop the world of golf having it’s usual field day…

Whatever your thoughts on LIV Golf, it sure has been one hell of a ride. And it’s only just started.

George Cooper

A golf fanatic his entire life, George Cooper is NCG's man for all goings-on at the top level of the game, whether it's the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA or LIV Golf. He also looks after NCG's Twitter and Facebook accounts. George is a member of Woburn, but is not friends with Ian Poulter.

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