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Phil Mickelson to participate in Saudi-backed league, risks losing PGA Tour status

Farmers Insurance Open Golf
Posted at 4:40 AM, Jun 07, 2022

After being left off the initial list of participants for the LIV Golf Invitational, Phil Mickelson is joining the Saudi-funded golf league. The tournament begins Thursday in England.

Saying that he was interested in the competing tour, Mickelson previously made controversial comments about the PGA Tour and the Saudi-backed golf league's organizers.

The reported comments, which included calling the PGA Tour a dictatorship that manipulates and divides, were made in a phone interview with Alan Shipnuck, a journalist writing his biography.

He called the Saudis "scary" but would look past their history of human rights abuses to gain leverage with the PGA Tour, ESPN reported.

Mickelson's comments about the Saudis and the PGA Tour led to many top players pledging their support to the PGA Tour in February.

Since his comments became public in February, Mickelson has not participated in a PGA Tour event, and has missed both majors.

“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,” said Greg Norman, CEO and commissioner of LIV Golf. “Our International Series qualifiers have earned an incredible opportunity to compete in LIV Golf’s new format, and I’m eager to watch all of them tee it up next week.”

The LIV Golf tournament offers $25 million in prize money. The winner gets $4 million.

The PGA Tour has not permitted players to join the competing event. Anyone participating in this week’s LIV Golf Invitational risks losing PGA Tour membership.

The same weekend, the PGA Tour hosts the RBC Canadian Open, an event Dustin Johnson won in 2018. Johnson was among those joining the LIV Golf Invitational.

Besides Mickelson and Johnson, the LIV Golf Invitational also includes some other former major champions, including Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell, Martin Kaymer and Louis Oosthuizen.