Phil Mickelson will play the LIV Golf Event, which starts on Friday near London

Phil Mickelson will play the LIV Golf Event, which starts on Friday near London

Phil Mickelson, who has not played competitively since his provocative remarks in support of the Saudi-backed golf league, hoping to compete in the PGA Tour in February, will stop playing in the first game later this week. The beginning of the LIV Golf Cycle.

Mickelson, winner of six major golf championships, will be one of the 48 players to compete for the $ 25 million cash prize when the tournament kicks off Thursday at the Centurion Club near London, making him the oldest golfer to win a major title, including last year’s PGA Championship. . Last week, Dustin Johnson, ranked 15th in the world in men’s golf, also agreed to compete in the alternative round. According to The Telegraph, Johnson was paid $ 125 million to join LIV Golf, a public investment fund owned by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.

The separation tour promised both a high viewing fee and a format that provided six-digit payments to each participant.

“This new path is a new beginning, it’s exciting for me at this stage of my career,” Mickelson, who is ranked 72nd in the world, wrote on Twitter on Monday. “I fully understand and respect that some people may disagree with this decision and have strong opinions, and I empathize with that. I have a new spirit and excitement for the game, “he said.

Mickelson’s announcement is likely to lead to his removal from the PGA Tour, which has paid Mickelson more than $ 94 million in tournament revenue over 30 years. PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said players who choose to play LIV Golf races will be subject to disciplinary action, including suspensions or lifetime bans.

Mickelson, with a golfing fame, could enjoy a lawsuit against PGA Tour’s right to ban it. When asked if he had the authority to discipline players in this way, Monahan insisted that the tour’s lawyers believed that any punishment given to golfers playing for an opposing round would withstand legal scrutiny.

Mickelson, one of the most famous golfers of his generation, was heavily criticized after acknowledging that Saudi Arabia had a “terrible record in human rights,” including the killing of a Washington Post journalist, but he said he still spoke to him and helped. It was a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” because it was a new tour. Earlier this year, Mickelson, 51, accused the PGA Tour, which he has won 45 times, of “disgusting greed.” He later said his words were “careless,” but despite this, several long-term corporate sponsors, including KPMG and Workday, ended their relationship with him.

On Monday, Mickelson wrote: “I would like to apologize again to the many people I hurt and offended by my comments a few months ago. I have made mistakes in some of the things I have said and done in my career. It was very humiliating to spend time and reflect. ”

The tournament near London is one of eight events in the LIV Golf Invitational Series this year. Earlier this season, Mickelson competed in three PGA Tour events, was uninterrupted in two and finished 30th in the third.

Although he won the Triple Masters, he missed this year’s tournament. On Monday, Mickelson said he intends to play in future major championships. He is currently competing in the US Open next week and the British Open next month.

Last week, LIV Golf CEO and commissioner Greg Norman praised Mickelson, saying “the free agency has finally come to play golf.”

“His contributions to the sport and his relationship with fans around the world cannot be overestimated and we are grateful to have him,” Norman said in a statement on Monday.

Many of Mickelson’s PGA Tour colleagues, including his longtime rival Tiger Woods, have criticized Mickelson’s hostile stance against the tour.

Woods said last month: “Phil’s thoughts on the tour and what the tour means to all of us are polarized.”

Rory McIlroy, a four-time main winner, called Mickelson’s comments “naive, selfish, selfish, ignorant.”

Last week, McIlroy, speaking out in disrespect to the LIV Golf Course, rejected the catalog of players entering the tournament, which begins Thursday at the Centurion Club.

“I certainly don’t think the field is anything to jump up and down,” McIlroy said.

But Mickelson was hilarious on Twitter on Monday.

“I am very happy to start with LIV Golf and thank everyone who participated,” he said.

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