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Phil Mickelson officially announced on Monday that he will be joining league rival PGA Tour golf after months of speculation and backlash over his support of the Saudi-funded organization.
Mickelson said he will take part in LIV Golf’s first tournament this week in London at the Centurion Golf Club with $25 million in prize money and $4 million for the winner.
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In his statement, Mickelson apologized for seemingly ruling out Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamaal Khashoggi. He had not played in a golf tournament since comments he made to author Alan Shipnuck, which were part of his unauthorized biography.
“First of all, I want to again apologize to the many people I offended and hurt with my comments a few months ago. I made mistakes in my career in some of the things that I I said and did. Taking time and self-reflecting was very humbling. I had to start prioritizing the people I love the most and work on becoming a better version of myself,” it reads. in Mickelson’s statement. “I have spent this time with Amy and my loved ones. I have been committed and intentional in pursuing therapy and I feel healthier and much more at peace. I realize I still have a long way to go , but I embrace the work ahead of me.”
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Mickelson said he was ready for a “fresh start”.
“I’m ready to get back to playing the game I love, but after 32 years this new path is a fresh start, exciting for me at this point in my career and clearly transformative, not just for me, but ideally for the game. and my peers. I also love the progressive format and think it will be exciting for the fans. Just as importantly, it will provide balance, allowing me to focus on a healthier approach to life on and off the course. “I’m incredibly grateful for what this game and the PGA Tour have given me. I’d like to think I’ve given back as well, but now I’m thrilled at this new opportunity.
“I’m excited to start with LIV Golf and appreciate everyone involved. I also intend to play at the majors. I realize and fully respect that some may disagree with this decision and have strong opinions. and I sympathize 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 hope that over time those feelings, relationships and support will continue.
Mickelson will join Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia and three other former 54-hole tournament champions.
It is “Lefty’s” first tournament since Feb. 6 at Saudi International, when he accused the PGA Tour of having “odious greed.” In comments to Shupnick, Mickelson said it was worth getting into LIV Golf regardless of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.
He later apologized for the remarks, but skipped the Masters and the PGA Championship – the latter which he won in 2021.
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“His contributions to the sport and his connection to fans around the world cannot be overstated, and we are grateful to have him,” LIV Golf Commissioner Greg Norman said of Mickelson. “He reinforces an exciting area for London where we are proud to launch a new era for golf.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.