Phil Mickelson, the latest wayward to join the Saudi circuit

American golfer Phil Mickelson has confirmed that he will play in the first tournament of the controversial LIV Golf Invitational Series, the new golf circuit sponsored and financed by Saudi Arabia, but still intends to participate in the next ‘majors’ this year.

American Dustin Johnson tops the entry list for the inaugural event this Thursday at the Centurion Club, near London, but Mickelson has hidden his presence until the end.

The Spanish Sergio García, the South African Louis Oosthuizen and the British Lee Westwood are also among the big names who will perform in the three-day tournament that will feature 12 teams and 48 players.

Mickelson was singled out after criticizing the PGA Tour earlier this year. His comments on LIV Golf were also met with significant backlash after he said that Saudi Arabia has “a horrible record on human rights”, but added that he was willing to commit to the competition as it was “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reform the way the PGA Tour operates.”

Mickelson, who once again reiterated his apologies for his earlier comments, announced that he will play in the inaugural LIV Golf event. “I am ready to play the sport I love again, but after 32 years this new path is a new beginning, an exciting one for me at this stage of my career and clearly transformational. not just for myself, but for the sport and for my teammates,” the American said in a statement.

“I love the progressive format and I think it will be exciting for the fans. It will provide balance,” he said. “I am incredibly grateful for what this sport and the PGA Tour have given me. I would like to think that I have also given them a lot, but now I am excited for this new opportunity.”

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Mickelson, 51, has opted not to defend his PGA Championship this year, but plans to juggle majors with LIV Golf. “I’m excited to get started with LIV Golf and I thank everyone involved. I also intend to play the ‘big ones,'” he added.

“I fully realize and respect that some may disagree with this decision. I have a renewed spirit and enthusiasm for the sport. I am incredibly grateful for the support of my fans, partners and peers and I hope that over time those feelings, relationships and support will continue.”

Greg Norman, Executive Director and Commissioner of LIV Golfassured in a statement collected by Sky Sports that Mickelson is “one of the best golfers of this generation”. “His contributions to the sport and his connection to fans around the world cannot be underestimated and we are grateful to have him.”

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