Phil Mickelson refused the PGA Tour’s ban on him just before he was due to play in the most lucrative event of golf.
Near London, The Centurion Club hosts a $25m Saudi-funded invitational tournament. This is the first of eight totaling $255m (PS200m).
Six-time major winner Mickelson made “reckless” comments in February about Saudi Arabia’s regime. Now, he is returning to play after a four month exile.
Mickelson said, “I’m learning lessons.”
“I would be speaking publicly on a PGA Tour matter, which I have decided not to do at the time.”
He said, “I have enjoyed my time on PGA Tour and I have strong opinions about what should and could be done better. But I will try to keep those discussions behind closed doors.”
The PGA Tour threatened to ban any member who plays in LIV Golf events. Any sanctions that are imposed will be made public only after players have teed off on Thursday at 14:15 BST.
Although he refused to confirm that reports claimed he was being paid $200m to participate in LIV Golf events, the 51-year-old American hinted that it might be true.
He stated that contracts agreements should be kept private. It doesn’t seem to be true, but it should.
Mickelson denied that he was involved in the LIV series because of financial problems resulting from gambling losses earlier this week. He has won 45 events and earned $95m on PGA Tour.
He said that Wednesday’s “opportunity” gives him more balance off and on the golf course.
He said that it was made clear that he had the option to participate in the US PGA Championship three week ago, but he chose not to do so because ‘I wasn’t ready to play.
He feels it is the right time to make a return, as the combined team and individual events of LIV are “exciting.”
He said, “I needed more balance off the course and on the golf course. This gives me the chance to achieve that balance.” “I know people might disagree with me, but this is the right choice for me.”
What will be the LIV Golf series’ operation?
This week’s $25m (PS20m), purse is the largest ever offered in one event. The winner of the 48-man event will receive $4m.
The initial invitational series will include six additional tournaments of the same nature – four in America, one in Thailand, and one in Saudi Arabia – each with the same $25m prize pool. This means that every leg is more lucrative than any tournament on the PGA Tour.
Three-day, 54-hole strokeplay events will be held over three days. There will be a team and an individual competition. Twelve captains will select three players in a draft-style format. The’shotgun start’ is where four teams of four will play on the same holes each day.