Phil Mickelson's LIV Golf leadership hailed as Brendan Steele wins first event on breakaway tour

Mickelson's wisdom was invaluable as Steele closed in on victory
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 28: Phil Mickelson (Left) and Brendan Steele of Hy Flyers GC (Right) speak after Steele won LIV Adelaide at The Grange Golf Club on April 28, 2024 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images) -Credit:Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images

Brendan Steele thanked Phil Mickelson for his LIV Golf breakthrough moment after claiming his first win on the breakaway tour.

The American, 41, held a commanding lead at The Grange Golf Club in Adelaide, Australia heading into the final round. A four-under-par effort on Sunday was good enough to hold off former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen by one stroke. Steele, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour before joining LIV last year, claimed a career-high payday of £3.2m, but he was quick to shift the praise to HyFlyers team captain Mickelson for the role he has played in improving not only Steele's game but his mentality.

"(Mickelson) was like, how are you feeling? What are you thinking?" Steele said after Sunday's big win. "I said, 'Well, if I can play freely like I did the last couple days, I feel like I'll have a good chance'. He's like, 'That's great. Let's reframe it. Let's make it when I play freely, I can play freely, I will play freely. Let's reframe it into that'. Then I was saying, 'I think it'll be good enough' but 'He's like, no, it will be good enough, you will play freely. This is what you need to do'. So that was what I was trying to do. He's the reason that I'm here and the reason that I'm improving. To be honest, I'm 41 years old and I'm getting better, and it's mostly because of him."

Steele's success came amid significant struggles for six-time major champion Mickelson, who has been unable to produce his best form since becoming a founding member of LIV two years ago. The lefty is 34th in the season standings, with a tied-sixth finish in Jeddah his only glimmer of success.

Mickelson finished in a tie for 38th in Adelaide, but that could not dampen his excitement for his teammate, sharing a huge embrace as Steele made his way off the 18th green. It was not all bad news for Mickelson on a personal front, either, with HyFlyers finishing third in the team competition behind Ripper GC and Stinger GC, with the captain, Steele, Andy Ogletree and Cameron Tringale each banking almost £400,000 in prize money.

Steele put himself in a few awkward positions as he neared the finish line and his first LIV win, and he says the work he has put in with Mickelson made all the difference. "I was terrified over that wedge shot [on 19]," he added. "To be honest, because it's a really tough shot. I need to get it over the tier but not go into the back bunker. I've got 10,000 fans in the fairway kind of right on top of me. Fortunately, all the work that I've put in over the offseason with Phil in his backyard and all the help that he's given me, it really paid off with that shot specifically."