Phil Mickelson breaks silence, confirms spot in LIV Golf field, intends to play majors
Phil Mickelson has spoken. Minutes after an email was sent confirming Mickelson’s return to pro golf and spot in the field at this week’s LIV Golf Invitational Series opener, the six-time major champion sent out a lengthy statement on Twitter explaining why he’s ready to come back, apologizing for comments he made in the past and confirming he intends to play future major championships.
“First and foremost, I want to again apologize to the many people I offended and hurt with my comments a few months ago,” it started. “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.”
Mickelson hasn’t posted on Twitter since Feb. 22, when he announced he was taking some time away from the game just days after a story was published on The Fire Pit Collective in which he made explosive comments about the Saudi-funded league, his involvement in it and plan to use it as leverage against the PGA Tour.
He’s since been one of the most discussed and controversial players in golf and a popular topic of numerous press conferences, even though Mickelson himself was rarely spotted in public.
“I am ready to come back to play the game I love but after 32 years this new path is a fresh start,” he said, “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 went on to compliment the “progressive format,” of the new league, which has 48 players divided into 12 four-person teams for individual and team scores in 54-hole shotgun-start tournaments around the globe. The teams will be picked via draft on Tuesday.
Most of the competitors for the first event were announced last week, with Dustin Johnson headlining the field. Eight events are scheduled for this season, and $255 million in total purses will be distributed.
The first tournament begins on Thursday at Centurion Golf Club outside of London.
Mickelson missed two major championships during his time away, including his title defense at the PGA Championship, but made clear in his statement he plans to play more majors in the future.
Next week is the U.S. Open in Massachusetts.
“I am thrilled to begin with LIV Golf and I appreciate everyone involved. I also intend to play the majors,” Mickelson said. “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.”
The PGA Tour has previously said players will be banned from competing on its tour if they join Greg Norman’s LIV Golf league, although it’s still unclear if the game’s key organizations that run major championships will do the same for LIV Golf members who qualify for majors. It all could turn into a lengthy legal battle.