Phil Mickleson was mocked with a ‘Tiger Woods’ taunt after again struggling in his opening round of the LIV Golf Invitational event in Portland. Mickleson, 52, has been the most high-profile defector to Greg Norman’s rebel tour, having previously accused the PGA Tour of “obnoxious greed” before making his big-money move.
But it’s been anything but a smooth transition for the six-time major champion, who missed the US Masters this year after taking a break from the sport amid the controversy. He did play at the US Open, but endured a difficult time and failed to make the cut at Brookline.
The famous left-hander also failed to challenge in the inaugural LIV Golf event in St Albans last month, prior to which he was subjected to tough questions from the media over his apparent embracing of ‘sportswashing’. And thus far, he’s found it tough going at Pumpkin Ridge, carding a three over par 75 on Thursday, leaving him ten shots off the lead.
That mark was set by Mexican Carlos Ortiz, who like Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau is making his LIV debut, and arrived in style with a 67. Dustin Johnson is just one shot back after a four under round of 68.
But Mickleson wasn’t afforded much sympathy from the galleries, especially after a birdie chance slid by on the sixth hole. As he moved to mark his ball, one unsympathetic spectator shouted “Tiger would have made it.”
A video clip of the incident was posted on Twitter by the @TWlegion account, much to the amusement of its 64,200 followers: “He’s right. Tiger would have made it,” said @DanaRolles, while @EditorLj added: “Phil has been hearing that line since 1997.”
Some also noted the apparent lack of people watching the event, with @anthonyonguitar posting: “The crowd of 6 goes wild,” and @jon45470876 said: “Phil isn’t competitive any more. And it sounds like there are about 10 people watching him.”
In all likelihood, fans won’t be seeing Woods make any putts in LIV Golf events. Norman has admitted the 15-time major champion has turned down a lucrative offer to join the series, and the 46-year-old has publicly disagreed with Mickleson over his views on the PGA Tour.