Golf champion Phil Mickelson was ostracized for his comments on Saudi Arabia, but is back aboard Greg Norman’s rebel league.
Phil Mickelson confirmed that he has signed up to play in the lucrative LIV Golf Invitational Series, backed by Saudi Arabia.
The six-time main winner and 2021 PGA Championship winner has been confirmed on the field for the controversial inaugural event of the new London tour this week.
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According to New York postMickelson has signed a deal with LIV Golf worth A $ 280 million.
“I am ready to return to playing the game I love, but after 32 years this new path is a new beginning,” Mickelson wrote in a statement posted on Twitter.
Mickelson hasn’t played since the comments posted in February in which he criticized the PGA Tour and Saudi supporters of LIV Golf, led by Australian legend Greg Norman.
In an interview with author Alan Shipnuck, the 51-year-old golf star said the Saudi Arabian-funded LIV Golf was an opportunity to take advantage of the PGA Tour.
However, Mickelson described Saudi supporters of the new venture as “scary” with a “horrific human rights record”.
Mickelson, a 45-time winner of the PGA Tour, later apologized after his remarks were made public and said he would take some “desperately needed time” from the sport.
He later missed both the Masters and the US PGA Championship during his self-imposed exile from the sport.
During that time, however, the rise of LIV Golf continued to tear apart the fabric of world golf, with dozens of household names joining the new tour.
Last week, former world number one Dustin Johnson has been confirmed to have signed on to play the new money-spinning serieswhose tournaments will offer some of the richest bags in the history of golf.
This week’s event that kicks off at the Centurion Club in St Albans, North London, will have a purse of $ 35 million, nearly double that of any major, with $ 5.5 million going to the winner.
In addition to Mickelson and Johnson, other players include European Ryder Cup stars Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia.
Players who opted for LIV Golf did so despite PGA Tour warnings that they will face disciplinary action.
Several PGA Tour golfers had applied for release to play in this week’s LIV event – which clashes with the PGA Tour’s RBC Canadian Open – but was turned down.
In his statement on Monday, Mickelson said he believes LIV Golf could have a “transformative” effect on the sport. He also said it would allow him to change his lifestyle.
“It will provide balance, allowing me to focus on a healthier approach to life on and off the pitch,” said Mickelson.
“I am incredibly grateful for what this game and the PGA Tour have given me.”
However, Mickelson added: “I fully appreciate and respect that some may disagree with this decision and have strong opinions and are sympathetic to this.
“I have a renewed spirit and enthusiasm for the game”.
Originally published as Phil Mickelson throws a $ 280 million Greg Norman bomb after the Saudi Arabian scandal