LIV Golf’s Phil Mickelson Blasts USGA CEO Mike Whan, Alleges Collusion With PGA Tour
The USGA’s rule change to US Open qualification affects LIV’s Talor Gooch
The U.S. Golf Association’s recent change of the criteria to participate in the U.S. Open has Phil Mickelson, one of the leaders of the LIV Golf circuit, unhinged on social media because he believes there’s collusion going on with the PGA Tour.
USGA CEO Mike Whan explained the changes to the criteria that states a player had to qualify for the Tour Championship and the U.S. Open and be “eligible” as well.
Talor Gooch, who is on the LIV Golf tour, is one name that is heavily impacted by this change. He qualified last year at the Tour Championship, but since he left to join LIV, he isn’t eligible.
Now, with any hopes of making the U.S. Open in June, let alone the Tour Championship in August, Gooch will need to finish well at the PGA Championship next week to be among the top 60 players on the Official World Golf Ranking. He’s currently 63.
What makes matters worse is he has been playing very well on the LIV circuit, but those events don’t count toward the ranking points.
“Any time we make changes to our criteria going forward, it impacts somebody and that stinks, but we can only look forward,” Whan said, via Golf Digest.
“That was obviously disappointing because that changed rule only affected one person, which was me,” Gooch noted on the “73rd Hole Podcast” recently.
Well, Mickelson has his fellow LIV golfer’s back, as he called out Whan and the USGA in a variety of tweets.
“Mike Whan recently changed the wording from ‘qualified’ for the Tour championship to ‘eligible.’ Thereby taking away Gooch’s exemption since he wasn’t eligible to play even though he had qualified. This doesn’t make the US open better in any way but does help collude with the Tour,” he wrote in one.
“How does the USGA play out in all this then? No one left the USGA Tour cuz there [isn’t] one. If they are working with JM [PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan] to try and stop another Tour, the accurate term is collusion,” another read.
Mickelson also called it a “d— move” by Whan.
“Hey Mike, what about changing a rule and making it retroactive to exclude someone who has already qualified? How can Talor Gooch not take that personal? It’s a direct attack on him and his career. How does it benefit the usga or US open? It doesn’t just a d— move,” Mickelson tweeted.
Mickelson earned one of the exemptions for the tournaments after winning the 2021 PGA Championship.
For Gooch, he has just two options now if he wishes to play in the U.S. Open: Getting the world ranking, which is very difficult, or go through the qualifiers as many amateurs do.