Fred Couples calls Phil Mickelson a “maniac,” says Will Zatoris, who has twice turned down LIV

Fred Couples and Phil Mickelson at the 2013 Open Championship.

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Phil Mickelson is a “maniac,” says Fred Couples.

He says Sergio Garcia is a “clown”.

And loud Orange County Registry, Couples had words for Cam Smith and LIV Golf broadcasts in a speech this week ahead of the PGA Tour Champions’ Hoag Classic. Remarkably, the 15-time PGA Tour winner said he has no problem with the second-year Saudi-backed series itself – but “what’s been my problem with tweeting every now and then is what these guys are saying , when they go to the LIV tour.”

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And pairs unloaded on a few LIV players.

— He called Mickelson a “crazy guy”, but added that he’s “probably one of the 10 best players that have ever played” and that he still likes him. Couples also singled out his fellow World Golf Hall of Famers by citing the fact that LIV has paid its players large, guaranteed contracts.

“If you give Phil Mickelson $200 million at age 52 to do 74 and 75, God bless you,” Couples said, according to the Orange County Registry.

— He said he was upset with “all these other clowns, like Sergio”.

– He was critical of Smith but just called him “the guy who won the Players Championship and the British Open last year”. In explaining his jump to LIV last year, Smith had said golf digest: “I’ve lived here for seven years now and I love living in the US, but just little things like missing friends’ weddings, birthday parties and seeing your friends have a great time at rugby league games, was hard.”

The couple said loudly to them Orange County Registry: “I find that funny because my favorite player has five kids, 40 grandkids, and he’s never missed a thing — and that was Jack Nicklaus,” Couples said.

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— He also blasted LIV’s broadcasts. The series is now airing on the CW Network, after showing only on YouTube and LIV’s website in the US last year.

“It was a few weeks ago on the CW or whatever that channel is that everyone’s laughing at,” he said, according to the Orange County Registry. “I turned it on three times. It was so bad. I couldn’t even see anyone I liked. They don’t show them. … Who won last? I do not even know.”

(Charles Howell III won.)

— Couples also had an epiphany about a player who wasn’t at LIV. According to the Orange County Registryhe said that Will Zalatoris was offered $35 million to take part in the series, then $130 million, and he declined both.

“Money is a zero object [for LIV]’ said Paar. “I give Will a lot of credit; he wants the PGA Tour.”

The couple’s thoughts continued a year-long roast between LIV and its players.

In a late June interview with GOLF’s Alan Bastable, Couples tore up the future of Mickelson, Pat Perez, LIV – “they won’t be there in three years” – and the source of LIV’s funding. “I think it’s a family thing for me,” Couples said. “I’m a little peon from Seattle, but I know where the money comes from and I think my family would disown me if I left. Of course it’s easy for me to say because I’m not going, so I can actually tell you what I want to tell you.”

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About a month later, ahead of another Champions event, Couples again exchanged thoughts on Garcia and Perez, LIV CEO Greg Norman – “whom nobody’s liked in 25 years” – and LIV’s “Golf But Louder” promotion.

“All these guys think they’re changing the game, and to me it’s weird, it’s really weird,” Couples said. “Having music on every tee and letting people drink beer and think that’s cool.”

He added, “I never thought that the cast and crew that would do this would be the guys that would do it.”


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Nick Piastowski

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Nick Piastowski is Senior Editor at and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf community. And when he’s not writing about how to hit the golf ball further and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach him on any of these topics – his stories, his game or his beers – at Fred Couples calls Phil Mickelson a “maniac,” says Will Zatoris, who has twice turned down LIV

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