Phil Mickelson signs with LIV Golf, will play first event in London
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Phil Mickelson signs with LIV Golf, will play first event in London

LA QUINTA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 17: Phil Mickelson tees off on the 17th hole during the second round of The American Express tournament at the Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West on January 17, 2020 in La Quinta, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson is joining LIV Golf after all. LIV Golf Investments announced on June 6 that the six-time major champion will compete in the first LIV Golf Invitational Series event, which begins Thursday at Centurion Club in England.

“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. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many of them, and that has been a driving force behind our mission at LIV – creating player pathways and new opportunities to play the game we all love.”

Mickelson has not competed since February, when he took a leave of absence from competitive golf after comments he made to John Huggan and Alan Shipnuck became public. Mickelson accused the PGA Tour of "obnoxious greed" when it came to how much of the organization's sponsor income is paid to players in purses, as well as their control of players' media rights. Mickelson also told Shipnuck he thought the Saudi owners of LIV Golf Investments, the Saudi soverign Public Investment Fund, were "scary motherf*ckers" and downplayed the government's killing of journalism Jamal Khashoggi as the Saudi consolate in Turkey.

In the fallout from those comments, Mickelson lost most of his sponsors, including Amstel and KPMG. Callaway Golf, which has signed Mickelson to a lifetime contract, paused their relationship with Mickelson.

Concurrent to the announcement, Mickelson released a lengthy statement which reads:

"First and foremost, I want to again apologize to the many people I offended and hurt with my comments a few months ago. I have made mistakes in my career in some of the things I have said and done. Taking time away and self-reflecting has been very humbling. I needed to start prioritizing the people that I love the most and work on becoming a better version of myself. I have spent this time with Amy and loved ones. I have been engaged and intentional in continued therapy and feel healthy and much more at peace. I realize I still have a long way to go, but I am embracing the work ahead.

"I am ready to come back to play the game I love but after 32 years this new path is a fresh start, one that is exciting for me at this stage of my career and is clearly transformative, not just for myself, but ideally for the game and my peers. I also love the progressive format and think it will be exciting for fans. Just as importantly, it will provide balance, allowing me to focus on a healthier approach to life on and off the course. I am incredibly grateful for what this game and the PGA Tour has given me. I would like to think that I have given back as well but now I am excited about this new opportunity.

"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 and have strong opinions and I empathize with that. I have a renewed spirit and excitement for the game. I am incredibly grateful for the support of my fans, partners, friends, and peers and I hope in time, those sentiments, relationships, and support continue."

Mickelson missed his title defense at the PGA Championship in May, and it is unclear if he will play in the US Open the week after the LIV Golf event. Mickelson has fallen from 33rd in the Official World Golf Ranking at the end of 2021 to 72nd currently.

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