Phil Mickelson confirms he will play in first Saudi-backed LIV Series event

  • First event of new series starts in England on Thursday
  • Mickelson: ‘I respect some may disagree with this decision’

Phil Mickelson’s widely anticipated reappearance will come in England this week, after it was confirmed the six-time major winner will play in the first event of the Saudi Arabia‑backed LIV Golf Series. Mickelson will feature in the 54-hole event at the Centurion Club from Thursday having taken the final spot in the 48-man field.

The Guardian understands that Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler recently rebuffed deals worth tens of millions to play in LIV tournaments. The PGA Tour has warned those who tee up at Centurion will be in breach of its regulations. Mickelson now appears to have made his plans clear.

Mickelson’s connection with the Saudis was at the root of his stepping away from the public eye. In comments reported in February, he admitted to full knowledge of Saudi’s infamous human rights record, which he was prepared to overlook when looking to leverage the PGA Tour. The 51‑year‑old golfer subsequently apologised for “reckless” words. He skipped the year’s first two majors, the Masters and the US PGA Championship.

Mickelson said on Twitter: “I am thrilled to begin with LIV Golf and I appreciate everyone involved. I also intend to play the majors. I fully realize and respect some may disagree with this decision.”

His insistence he will play majors throws a ball into their organisers’ court in terms of whether to side with existing Tours.

There has always been a sense within golf that Mickelson had made a multimillion-dollar commitment to the LIV scheme, fronted by Greg Norman. Mickelson’s involvement at Centurion will certainly draw extra levels of attention. Dustin Johnson, Sergio García, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Martin Kaymer and Graeme McDowell will also play this week. Kevin Na resigned from the PGA Tour in order to pursue LIV riches. Johnson, McDowell and Na will face the media at Centurion Club on Tuesday.

Norman said: “Phil Mickelson is unequivocally one of the greatest golfers of this generation. His contributions to the sport and connection to fans around the globe cannot be overstated and we are grateful to have him. He strengthens an exciting field for London where we’re proud to launch a new era for golf.”


Ewan Murray

The GuardianTramp

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