Some LIV Golf players have committed to several years of events

Dustin Johnson talks to LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman during the second round of the London event on Friday.

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ST. ALBANS, England — Very little was said during Phil Mickelson’s deliberately tentative press conferences this week at the LIV Golf Invitational, but a factoid squeaked Thursday night. Although he has been suspended indefinitely by the PGA Tour and does not want to comment on it at all, Mickelson has instead committed to playing each of the eight LIV events this year, and the 10 events the series plans for 2023.

In other words, even though Mickelson thinks private contract information should remain exactly that — private — he admitted he had been signed for at least two years.

While a lot has been reported about the large sums of money players have agreed to commit to the rival series, little has been clarified about the length of their commitments. They are not the same for all players, but they are often longer than a year.

Bryson DeChambeau has yet to play a single LIV event, but his engagement was officially announced Friday in Round 2. His contract, according to sources close to the situation, is also multi-year and also worth more than the previously reported $120 million figure.

Speaking after his second round of 70 on Friday, Dustin Johnson was in high spirits, happy to share. Mickelson is committed to two years, I said to the DJ, then I asked: Have you committed to several years with LIV Golf?

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“Yeah, I did,” Johnson said, still only answering the question posed to him.

“How much?”

“A few,” he said, smiling.

The press conference then abruptly stopped, limited to less than four minutes in all. But the truth was, the top-ranked player on the court, who finally validated LIV in a way no other pro had until last week, was happy to share the exact information. Johnson came down from the podium, walked past me and said quietly, “Officially it’s four years.”

Johnson had spent the previous few minutes telling the press he was very happy with the proposed schedule of just eight events in 2022, and four more if major championships are included. It turns out that his exemption in those expires after the same four years, in 2025.

“That’s the reason I started playing on LIV, it’s to play less golf, not more,” he said.

The schedule, it seems – and that it includes fewer events – is an underestimated point of progress for LIV with players who have committed. They argue that fewer events create greater freedom for the rest of their lives. They have often looked down on the 15-event minimum that the PGA Tour has retained as a prerequisite to maintain membership from year to year. Well, it doesn’t take a complex philosophy to understand that it’s easier to commit to several years when the money is big and suddenly the work is less. Even players who haven’t necessarily signed multi-year deals are able to think of a future where instead of 15 events being their minimum for membership, maybe it’s their maximum.

“I’m doing this to play less so I can be with my family more,” Sergio Garcia said. “Don’t play anymore.”

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Michael C. Ford