Mickelson arrives at Brookline and wild US Open week awaits | Sports activities

BROOKLINE, Mass. (AP) — Luke Gannon is enjoying in his first U.S. Open and had a type of moments that made him notice this was a stage not like every other the Kansan has performed. It was a bit awkward, too.

He seemed down 131 yards to the eleventh inexperienced to discover a tiny goal on the shortest gap at The Country Club. Off to the left of the inexperienced ready on him to hit was a participant carrying white shorts, a black shirt, remnants of a beard, no hat and somebody in no hurry.

Phil Mickelson was carrying solely a wedge and a putter and waved him by way of.

The Sunday earlier than U.S. Open week isn’t extra peaceable with only some dozen gamers getting a have a look at the course, some caddies arriving forward of their gamers to stroll the course and examine the yardages.

The peace will not final lengthy, and this time is not all about the U.S. Open and its popularity because the hardest take a look at in golf.

Mickelson had arrived from London the place he was amongst a dozen gamers on the U.S. Open who took half within the Saudi-funded debut of the LIV Golf Invitational. Half of these gamers had been PGA Tour members a couple of weeks in the past. Mickelson nonetheless is, selecting to not resign his membership.

The first official day of apply on Monday contains Mickelson within the first press convention of the week, the place it is possible he’ll face extra questions concerning the profitable LIV Golf renegade circuit than his bid to lastly ended 30 years of frustration on the solely main he hasn’t gained.

Mickelson did not need to share any of these ideas till Monday. He went about his work, inserting 4 hole-sized placards across the inexperienced to apply.

The subject is unavoidable and threatens to overshadow the second-oldest championship in golf held at Brookline, one of many 5 founding golf golf equipment when the USGA was fashioned in 1894.

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan solely stoked the fervour of the talk when he provided his first public ideas since he introduced he was suspending all PGA Tour members who joined. For how lengthy? Monahan wasn’t ready to say.

But he made pointed remarks throughout his 12-minute look on CBS throughout the Canadian Open. He referred to LIV Golf as nothing greater than a sequence of exhibition matches. He mentioned true, pure competitors was discovered on the PGA Tour, and it was that stage that created the profiles and presences of gamers now cashing in on Saudi riches.

As for the blowback for gamers taking cash supplied by the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia, a rustic identified for its abysmal report on human rights?

“I would ask any player that has left, or any player that would ever consider leaving, ‘Have you ever had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour?’” Monahan said.

He was asked why players like Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and even the lesser-known players like Talor Gooch couldn’t play both tours. He answered with a question of his own.

“Why do they need us so badly?” Monahan said. “Those players have chosen to sign multiyear, lucrative contracts to play in a series of exhibition matches against the same players over and over again. You look at that versus what we see here today.”

The Canadian Open featured a final group of Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Tony Finau and wasn’t settled until the end. McIlroy birdied his last two holes for a 62 to win by one over Finau (62), while Thomas bogeyed the last two holes for a 64.

One day after LIV Golf finished its 54-hole event with Charl Schwartzel winning $4.75 million ($4 million for his score, $750,000 as part of the winning team), the Canadian Open had enormous crowds with thousands surrounding the 18th green.

“It’s true and pure competition that creates the profiles and presences of the world’s greatest players,” Monahan said. “And that’s why they need us. That’s what we do.”

McIlroy got into the act. It was the first time he had defended a title on the PGA Tour — he had to wait two years when the Canadian was canceled in 2020 and 2021 by the pandemic — and his TV interview included a dig at Norman.

McIlroy has said such a “super league” was a bad idea even before Norman got involved. Norman told the Washington Post that McIlroy had been “brainwashed” by the tour.

The victory was the 21st on the PGA Tour for McIlroy.

“One greater than anyone else,” McIlroy said.

Norman has 20.

McIlroy already has four majors, twice as many as Norman, and he will hope to add to that total and get away from questions on why he has gone eight years without one.

With so much chatter on whether this Saudi-backed league is good for golf, a force for golf or simply a money grab for a majority of players on the back end of their careers, McIlroy probably won’t get pestered about when he’ll win his next major.

Maybe that will change on Thursday.

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