Phil Mickelson’s OWGR theory to fix LIV Golf issue faces undeniable problem

Phil Mickelson’s OWGR theory to fix LIV Golf issue faces undeniable problem

Phil Mickelson believes LIV Golf could well move to 72 holes from its current 54-hole format in the future, however one big hurdle in making that change lies in the way

Phil Mickelson’s prediction that LIV Golf is set to move to a 72-hole format could well be denied by one key issue – the breakaway league’s name.

Mickelson discussed the prospect of the Saudi-backed series moving from 54-hole tournaments to 72 across four rounds following his return to Augusta National at last week’s Masters. “We’ve got mini-tours playing 54, Champions Tour playing 54,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if some or all of LIV events went to 72. I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter. I enjoy the competition.”

The comments came after his fellow LIV star Jon Rahm made calls for the breakaway circuit to adopt the same format for their events, a point he had previously been keen to make when initially making the Saudi switch last December.

“If there ever was a way where LIV could go to 72 holes, I think it would help all of this argument a lot,” Rahm told the BBC. “The closer I think we can get LIV Golf to some other things the better. I think it would be for some kind of unification to feed into a world tour or something like that.

“I don’t know if I’m alone in this, but I definitely wouldn’t mind going back to 72 holes.” A move to four-round tournaments would no doubt help LIV’s hunt for Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) recognition, as the league continues to host its events without OWGR points on offer to those competing.

The ranking system cited the league’s no-cut, limited-hole format as one of the key reasons behind their decision to reject LIV’s application for OWGR points last October. As mentioned by Mickelson, the move to 72 holes seems somewhat inevitable in theory if it is to continue to progress alongside the PGA Tour.

It could however be a change that is never made due to the branding at the centre of the league. The circuit name ‘LIV’ derives from the roman numerals for the number 54, embedding the league’s commitment to hold three-round tournaments. A change to 72 holes would of course defunct the meaning of the LIV brand, which is no doubt something those in charge are reluctant to do.

One man who believes the league should continue to host 54-hole events rather than the traditional 72 is 2023 individual champion Talor Gooch. “It’s just funny to me, this arbitrary number of 72,” he claimed this week. “Why is it not 90? “Why is it not 108?

“We just decided to make that number the number, for what reason? Everyone’s talked about world ranking points and all this stuff, but no one’s talked about what do the fans enjoy more? People want something that’s going to be more exciting. And I personally think that the 54 holes is more exciting for the fans.”


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