GOLF

Phil Mickelson’s $200M LIV salary would push career earnings over $1B – Sportico.com

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Phil Mickelson turned pro 30 years ago this week after having one of the greatest amateur careers of all time, including winning three NCAA individual championships. The PGA Tour has been good for Lefty, with the golfer earning an estimated $925 million on and off the course over those three decades.

Now he’s ready to pocket his biggest payday yet. The 51-year-old will receive around $200 million to join the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational series, according to the golf chainis Brentley Romine. Two golf insiders said Sportico they thought the reported salary of $200 million for Mickelson and the $125 million fee for Dustin Johnson were in the ballpark. Representatives for Mickelson at Sportfive declined to comment on the payment. The first event in the controversial series will take place this week in London.

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The reported LIV salary pushes Mickelson’s career earnings to $1.1 billion and makes him the second golfer of all time, after Tiger Woods, to earn $1 billion from prize money, sponsorships, appearance fees and course design. (It should be noted that Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer are in the three-point club on an inflation-adjusted basis.) These estimates are based on gross earnings and are separate from net worth. Mickelson has opened up about the dent in his bank account from the California tax bite and his “reckless” gambling habits.

Mickelson had to turn down his first big paycheck – $180,000 for winning the 1991 Northern Telecom Open – because he was still an amateur at the time (the last amateur to win a PGA Tour event) and he was not entitled to collect any prize money. The Tucson event was the first of 45 PGA Tour victories, including his upset PGA Championship victory 12 months ago that earned him a record purse of $2.16 million. However, Mickelson’s best days are far behind him; he has only won three events in the past nine years.

The six-major winner never reached the No. 1 ranking in the world, as Woods held the spot for a record 683 weeks, but playing second fiddle to Tiger was lucrative for Mickelson. He earned $95 million in career prize money, second all-time behind Woods ($121 million).

Golf’s biggest stars earn most of their money off the course; Phil earned around $830 million outside of winnings, before LIV’s payout. Beyond endorsements and his course design business, that tally includes instances where Mickelson cashed in on his fame, like his $9 million check for an exhibition game against Woods in 2018, as well as the 6 million dollars he earned last year in the first year of the Tour’s new player impact program.

Golfers are attractive to marketers because of the demographics of golf enthusiasts. They have high disposable incomes and are willing to spend on cars, watches, financial services and equipment. Mickelson was a company darling, earning $40 million a year from sponsors, including Callaway, Rolex, Intrepid Financial and more. He took a major hit, however, when his controversial comments about LIV Golf and its Saudi backers came to light in February.

“They’re scary mothers to get involved with,” Mickelson told Alan Shipnuck, for the book. Phil: The heartbreaking (and unauthorized!) biography of golf’s most colorful superstar. “We know they killed [Washington Post reporter Jamal] Khashoggi and have a horrible human rights record. They execute people there for being gay. Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it? Because it’s a unique opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour works.

The backlash was quick. Amstel Light, KPMG and Workday all dropped Mickelson as an endorser. Callaway, who has sponsored Mickelson since 2004, said he would end his relationship with the golfer.

“I am thrilled to start with LIV Golf and appreciate everyone involved,” said Mickelson. said in a statement posted on Twitter. “I also intend to play the majors. I realize and fully respect that some may disagree with this decision and have strong opinions and I sympathize with that. I have a renewed spirit and excitement for the Game. “

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