The PGA Tour will never boast the world’s top golfers again and its new rival LIV Golf is "here to stay", according to Phil Mickelson.
The six-time major winner is one of many top players to have separated from the PGA Tour and joined its lucrative, Saudi Arabia-backed rival circuit.
“The PGA Tour, for the last 20 or 30 years have had all the best players in the world. That will never be the case again,” Mickelson said after the opening round at the LIV Golf event in Chicago.
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Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed, Bryson DeChambeau, Cameron Smith and Joaquin Niemann are among the high-profile players competing in the breakaway circuit.
LIV Golf’s emergence has been a hot topic of debate in the sport, but Mickelson urged diplomacy between the two sides.
"LIV Golf is here to stay, and this type of divisive talk is doing nobody good. The best solution is for us to come together,” he said.
"I think that the world of professional golf has a need for the old, historical history of the game product that the PGA Tour provides, and I think that LIV provides a really cool, updated feel that is attracting a lot younger crowd.
“That's being proven in the people that are watching and the age of the people that are watching.
"I think both are needed for the game of golf. Both are good for the game of golf. The inclusion of LIV Golf in the ecosystem of the golf world is necessary. As soon as that happens and we all start working together, that's going to be a really positive thing for everyone."
Chicago is hosting the fifth LIV Golf event of eight in its inaugural season, and Mickelson shot an opening round of 70 to go two-under.
Dustin Johnson is out in front on nine-under, three shots ahead of Cameron Smith and four ahead of Matthew Wolff.
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