Saudi International

LIV golfers Phil Mickelson, Cam Smith miss the cut in Saudi International

February 03, 2023
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Luke Walker/WME IMG

Phil Mickelson has done a lot of talking and tweeting in the last week. It started with some ribbing of Sam Ryder’s jogger pants in the Farmers Insurance Open and continued when he got to the Middle East to compete in the Saudi International on the Asian Tour. Down to what he says is his “college weight,” he delivered some jabs like a bantamweight, including an assertion that it’s harder to win in LIV Golf than the PGA Tour. (His sample size: 45 wins in 658 starts on the PGA Tour; no wins and one top-10 finish in eight appearances in LIV’s maiden 2022 season.)

With the Saudi International marking Lefty’s first start in three months, he is vowing to be a better golfer this year, saying before the tournament began, “I’m embarrassed with how I played last year. I’m going to put that behind me and have a really good year.”

Well, the results in this outing could hardly be termed embarrassing, but they weren’t good enough to play on the weekend either. Mickelson missed a five-foot putt for birdie on the 18th hole and shot one-over 71 on Friday, and that, combined with his first-round 70, meant that the 52-year-old missed the cut by one shot. He was joined in that category by World No. 4 Cam Smith, a fellow LIV player who went 73-69 (two over). The leader is yet another member of LIV—Mexico’s Abraham Ancer, whose 66 took him to 11 under and a one-shot lead over American Cameron Young, who scored a second-straight 65 after receiving a release by the PGA Tour to play.

Of course, LIV Golf is played over 54 holes with no cut, and thus we have to go back to Mickelson’s start last year in the Saudi International to find his last made cut in a 72-hole event, when he finished T-18. In a handful of starts on the PGA Tour last year, Mickelson made only one cut, tying for 36th in the season-opening Fortinet Championship in September 2021. He followed with a T-30 in the no-cut Sentry Tournament of Champions, then missed cuts in The American Express, Farmers Insurance Open, U.S. Open and Open Championship.

Mickelson’s last top-10 finish in a tournament with a cut is when he won the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah.

Former U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeaul, the LIV player who put a new TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus driver into play this week, missed the Saudi cut at seven over.