Phil Mickelson released a statement on Monday after officially signing a deal with LIV Golf Investments and announcing he will be playing the first event of the Invitational Series this week outside of London.
“First and foremost, I again want to 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 have said and done,” Mickelson wrote in a statement. posted on Twitter. “Taking time and reflecting on yourself has been humbling. I need to start prioritizing the people I love the most and work on becoming a better version of myself…
“I’m ready to come back and play the game I love, but after 32 years this new path is a new beginning, which is 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’m incredibly grateful for what this game and the PGA Tour have given me, I’d like to think I gave back too, but now I’m excited about this new opportunity.
Mickelson, 51, will begin playing Thursday in the $25 million, 54-hole event at Centurion Golf Club, but said he also plans to play in all four major championships in the future.
“I realize and fully respect that some may disagree with this decision and hold strong opinions and I understand that,” he continued. “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.
Scroll to continue
Mickelson’s announcement on Monday ends a four-month hiatus from golf for the six-time major champion, most of which has seen him embroiled in controversy over controversial comments about Saudi financiers LIV Golf. The Public Investment Fund, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, is the main funder of the series.
“These are some scary mothers to get involved with,” Mickelson told author Alan Shipnuck in a conversation that Shipnuck said took place in November. “… They killed [Washington Post reporter and U.S. resident Jamal] Khashoggi and have a horrible human rights record. They execute people there for being gay. Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it? Because it’s a unique opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour works.
Mickelson apologized for the remarks but lost several endorsers over the derogatory comments.
Mickelson joins other former big winners such as Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Martin Kaymer among those in the 48-man field for this weekend’s event. According Sports Illustrated‘s Bob Harig, Mickelson is expected to have signed for all eight LIV Golf Invitational Series events this season.
“Phil Mickelson is unequivocally one of the greatest golfers of this generation. His contributions to the sport and his connection to fans around the world cannot be overstated and we are grateful to have him,” said LIV Golf Commissioner and CEO Greg Norman. “It reinforces an exciting area for London where we are proud to launch a new era for golf.
More golf coverage: