CNN

Veteran golfer Phil Mickelson says he’s on the “winning side” amid the ongoing dispute between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour.

The 52-year-old joined the controversial series of Saudi-backed breakaways earlier this year which caused a huge rift in professional golf.

The LIV golfers have been banned from the PGA Tour and both bodies are embroiled in an ongoing legal battle.

“I think going forward you have to pick a side. You have to choose which side do you think he will succeed on,” Mickelson told reporters at the LIV Golf Invitational Series in Jeddah on Thursday.

“I firmly believe that I am on the winning side of how things will evolve and shape in the years to come for professional golf.”

In August, the LIV series joined an antitrust lawsuit by some of its players that alleges the PGA Tour has threatened to ban players for life who play the LIV golf series, adding that “suspensions unprecedented” had been imposed on them.

The lawsuit also alleges that the PGA Tour threatened sponsors, vendors and agents to coerce players into giving up opportunities to play in LIV Golf events and access to their memberships.

The PGA Tour filed a countersuit in late September, alleging “tortious interference with the Tour’s contracts with its members.”

Mickelson, who was part of a group of players who opted out of LIV Golf’s lawsuit against the PGA Tour, added: “Until both parties sit down and have a conversation and work on something, both parties will continue to change and evolve.”

The LIV Golf Series is backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) – a sovereign wealth fund chaired by Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and the man that a US intelligence report named as responsible for approving the operation that led to the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Bin Salman has denied any involvement in Khashoggi’s murder.

Six-time overall winner Mickelson was previously quoted in a 2021 interview with author Alan Shipnuck as making derogatory comments about Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and claiming the kingdom had killed Khashoggi.

He has since claimed the comments were off the record — a claim Shipnuck has denied — and said they were shared out of context and without his consent.

Mickelson now says he’s happy to have joined the lucrative series.

It comes as fellow American Dustin Johnson won LIV Golf’s inaugural Individual Championship this week, earning $18 million.

“I see LIV Golf trending up, I see the PGA TOUR trending down and I like the side I’m on…I like the way they involve us and listen to us in decisions,” added Michaelson.

“It’s so inclusive, it’s so fluid that LIV Golf things are top of mind.”

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