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eddie pepperell phil mickelson

Eddie Pepperell: Phil Mickelson has ‘practically tarnished’ his legacy

Eddie Pepperell wasn’t shy when discussing why players such as Phil Mickelson joined LIV Golf in an interview with NCG’s Matt Chivers…

 

Eddie Pepperell gave a scathing review of Phil Mickelson‘s decision to join LIV Golf, viewing his legacy as “practically tarnished.”

The two-time DP World Tour winner described Mickelson as a “mercenary” and doesn’t admire players like him, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter who he believes joined the Saudi-funded league for financial gain.

Mickelson joined LIV Golf before the June 2022 launch date in a turbulent fashion. His controversial comments about Saudi Arabia, the murder of reporter Jamal Khashoggi and issues concerning the LGBT community said to author Alan Shipnuck were made public in the lead-up.

The six-time major champion, largely regarded as one of the best to ever play the game, almost burned the LIV house down before it was built with his words but accepted a reported figure beyond $100 million to help kickstart the PGA Tour’s rival circuit.

“This is all about money. Anyone involved with LIV that tries to say otherwise is just lying. Phil would never have gone for $20 million, he would never have gone for free,” Pepperell told NCG.

“I know he wanted to make changes to the PGA Tour and he was probably quite right in some of those changes that he’d have liked to have seen, but let’s be honest, if LIV had said you can still make those changes and come and play for us for $15 million or for free or even £40 million, he probably would’ve said no. So, it was always about money and the fact of the matter is, the Saudis could meet almost all of his demands and then some.

“As far as I’m concerned, somebody like Phil in particular, I would consider him a mercenary in all of this and in my mind, his legacy is practically tarnished. I love Phil Mickelson and people like him, I respect them greatly, but the same goes for Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter.

“These are influential figures who like I said, have chosen their own bank accounts and their own personal increase in wealth above all else and that’s not something I fundamentally admire, nor respect and that’s how I feel. I think that’s how a lot of people feel when you see the eyewatering sums being thrown around.

“We are still in the time of certain excesses for sure in society, but there’s also a lot of hardship out there, and when you’re trying to engage good feelings from the fans and the consumers, this is not the way to do it.”

eddie pepperell phil mickelson
PlayerRumoured LIV Golf sign-up fee
Phil Mickelson$200 million
Brooks Koepka$100 million
Bryson DeChambeau$125 million
Dustin Johnson$125 million
Jon RahmBetween $400 and $600 million
Tyrrell Hatton$60 million
Ian PoulterBetween $20 and $30 million

Eddie Pepperell: Phil Mickelson is a mercenary

The alleged figure that Mickelson accepted to leave the PGA Tour is one on a long list of unprecedented figures offered to stars of the game to join LIV Golf, an entity Greg Norman represents as its commissioner.

Brooks Koepka has previously admitted to accepting a nine-figure offer, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau have been rumoured the same, while two-time major champion Jon Rahm reportedly banked half a billion dollars when making his groundbreaking move at the end of 2023.

It is perhaps the insurmountable financial power of the LIV Golf League that led the PGA Tour to cooperate with the Public Investment Fund, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund that bankrolls the rebel tour, last June.

But since the announcement of the framework agreement, an official compromise hasn’t been reached and a vacuum of speculation and doubt over completion is growing. In the meantime, the PGA Tour signed a deal with Strategic Sports Group (SSG), a US-based sports investment consortium, which could see players access up to $1.5 billion in equity.

Pepperell, who has become a fan favourite for his success on the course and his personality off it, believes this deal with SSG allows the PGA Tour to hold the PIF “at arm’s length” while it could also please PGA Tour players knowing that if LIV Golfers ever wish to return to their circuit, they won’t have the keys to the equity castle.

“I also think with this latest equity programme – one thing that allows for and this will be interesting to watch over the next 12 to 24 months is it allows for the PGA Tour members to feel comfortable in allowing LIV players to come back knowing that they’re not going to have their fingers in on the equity programme,” he added.

“They can come back and pay in a PGA Tour event for $20 million, but they’re not going to be getting a share of that equity pie that Patrick Cantlay or Jordan Spieth is, so because of that, I think there’s going to be an openness on the part of the big players on the PGA Tour to allow LIV players to come back if they want.

“I know that’s a big if, certainly with the way the rhetoric is from LIV, but you never know, Joaquin Niemann, when his contract is up, or Cam Smith, they might think this is great, I’ve got rich but it’s not fulfilling my professional needs and I want to get back playing Scottie Scheffler week in week out, which I think would be an entirely reasonable position to have and I think this equity programme allows for that. It makes that more, not less likely.”

NOW READ: Eddie Pepperell: ‘We’re witnessing the demise of professional men’s golf’

NOW READ: Lee Westwood and Eddie Pepperell involved in LIV Golf social spat

Would you agree with this Phil Mickelson-LIV Golf outlook of Eddie Pepperell’s? Tell us on X!

Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spent time with some of the biggest names in the sport.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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