Phil Mickelson confirmed on inaugural Saudi-backed LIV Golf event list

The six-time major champion will play at the controversial event at Centurion Club this week

<p>Phil Mickelson has not played since February and missed the defence of his PGA Championship </p>

Phil Mickelson has not played since February and missed the defence of his PGA Championship

Phil Mickelson will play in the inaugural LIV Golf event at the Centurion Club this week, tournament organisers have confirmed.

The six-time major champion has been taking a break from golf since the fall-out from his explosive comments about the PGA Tour and the Saudi-backed breakaway spearheaded by Greg Norman four months ago.

In an interview with the author of an unauthorised biography, Mickelson admitted he was well aware of Saudi Arabia’s “horrible record on human rights”, including the murder of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi, but was using the threat of a breakaway to “reshape” how the Tour operates.

But the 51-year-old, who has not played since February and missed the defence of his PGA Championship title, has been included on the 48-player entry list ahead of the opening event this weekend.

“I am ready to come back to play the game I love,” Mickelson said on Monday, “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.”

Mickelson joins former world No 1 Dustin Johnson, as well as former European Ryder Cup stalwarts Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter, on the entry list for the three-day tournament that has a prize fund of over £20m.

Mickelson said in a statement: “First and foremost, I want to again apologise 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 prioritising 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 realise I still have a long way to go, but I am embracing the work ahead.”

Norman, the chief executive of the breakaway golf league, 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.”

Mickelson added: "I am thrilled to begin with LIV Golf and I appreciate everyone involved. I also intend to play the majors. I fully realise and respect some may disagree with this decision and have strong opinions and I empathise 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."

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