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Phil Mickelson entering LIV golf tour spurs media 'grandstanding': Sports reporter

Yahoo Sports Senior Writer Jay Busbee joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the fallout after golfer Phil Mickelson left the PGA.

Video Transcript

DAVE BRIGGS: The US Open continues today at the Country Club in Brookline Mass just outside Boston. That was also the site of the legendary US Ryder Cup win back in 1999. And much like that day, the golf world is once again split in two, those who have joined the Saudi backed LIV golf tour, and those who refused. Jay Busbee is a senior writer for Yahoo Sports. He joins us now. Jay, great to see you. Been quite a while.

Let's start with Phil Mickelson. And before we get to the reaction, let's talk about the golf. He missed the cut plus 11. Does all of this seem to be impacting him?

JAY BUSBEE: Not a doubt. I mean, unlike the Golden State Warriors, Phil is having a whole lot of trouble with Boston, and specifically the course. He was unable to put anything together for any kind of run these past two days. And he finished, as you mentioned, at plus 11. He never looked like he had form. This is the first time that he's played on US soil since late January. So it's not really a surprise. But the sad thing, if you're a fan of Phil, is he doesn't have that US Open, he hasn't won that to complete the career grand slam.

He's got six second place finishes. And those are fading further and further in the past. So it's looking less and less likely that he will ever be able to get that fourth jewel in the career grand slam.

DAVE BRIGGS: Yeah, it doesn't look likely. Then there's all this controversy. Arguably the most beloved golfer on the planet, maybe with the exception of Tiger Woods, has turned into an absolute pariah, in particular, in the eyes of the media for his decision to take that $200 million from the Saudis to play in the LIV golf tour. It looked at least to me that the crowd still loved him. What did you see in the reaction? And what does that tell you about how potentially, with all due respect, how out of touch the media is?

JAY BUSBEE: Well, I wouldn't necessarily say that the media is one unified block on this. There's certainly plenty of people who will take Phil to task for the way that he and the PGA TOUR acted. There are others who understand that, hey, this is a complicated world. Echoing Rory McIlroy earlier this week, if you trace money back, everybody's hands are dirty to one degree or another. And so it's difficult to really come too hard down on Phil if you look at not just other sports, but other organizations, other media organizations, other professional organizations like the PGA TOUR.

So it's tough to get too sanctimonious. The one organizations that does have an option to dig a little bit deeper into Phil's past are the families of the 9/11-- those lost in 9/11. I'm sorry. They have been very critical of Phil and the other LIV golfers for their connections to the Saudi government. But outside of that, there's a whole lot of grandstanding that's going on here. And I agree with you. It doesn't-- it seems a little bit out of proportion to what's been said and what's been done.

DAVE BRIGGS: Not a single member of that media would not take nine figures to go play some golf for the Saudis. Dustin Johnson is joined, Bryson DeChambeau has joined, Patrick Reed has joined. They have nine major winners on this LIV golf tour. Do you think any more big names will make that move? Or is that it?

JAY BUSBEE: I do think there will be more big names. I do think there will be more major winners. I think there will be-- the issue really isn't so much the big names of today. It's the big names of the future, or the players that would become big names in the future, the players that we don't yet know, but if they were to go on a normal path would be winning Masters in 2025, 2030, 2035.

If they decide to go to the LIV tour, that's where this really becomes an issue. So it's not so much worrying about the players of today, it's worrying about the players of tomorrow that really ought to have the PGA TOUR concerned.

DAVE BRIGGS: Also a question of sustainability here. Because LIV paid those players about $500 million. Four players, and they'll pay out 255 million this year. Is this really a sustainable effort when clearly nobody was watching, at least on week one? And long term, how do you think this ends? Can the two tours coexist?

JAY BUSBEE: Well, it's a couple of questions there. And it's a couple of tricky questions. In terms of sustainability, this is not built like the PGA TOUR. This is not a business proposition where they need to see profits in order-- bottom line profits, in order to be able to consider this a success. For the Saudis, this is a marketing operation, not a business investment one where they are trying to market any image of Saudi golf, and an image of Saudi stability. They're looking forward to a world without oil, or where oil dependence is less.

And so they realize that they're going to have to have something more to offer the world. And this is a long term play. And in terms of the money that they've got invested, it's a ton. They have invested-- they guaranteed already two billion. They've got a fund with $600 billion. So 500 million is a relative drop in the bucket here. In terms of how long it can last, and in terms of whether they can coexist, absolutely they can coexist.

The question is whether LIV golf players will be allowed to play in the majors, like this week at the US Open. If they are, if they get that ability to play in the majors, absolutely you're going to see other players saying, hey. I want to make some money and I want to play in the majors. The PGA TOUR, thanks but no thanks.

DAVE BRIGGS: Yeah, as long as the majors remain independent of the PGA. It looks like this dynamic will continue a while. Jay Busbee, senior writer at Yahoo Sports. Follow him @jaybusbee for more updates on the US Open. Good to see you, man. Thank you.