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Phil Mickelson confirms he WILL play in £25m rebel LIV golf tournament in first appearance since Saudi comments backlash

, Phil Mickelson confirms he WILL play in £25m rebel LIV golf tournament in first appearance since Saudi comments backlash

PHIL MICKELSON has entered this week’s inaugural rebel golf tournament in St Albans – despite calling the Saudi backers “scary mother******s”.

Six-time Major winner Mickelson, 51,  “went dark” after his comments about the Saudi government and its role in the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi were published in February.

Phil Mickelson will compete in the first rebel LIV Golf tournament this week

Mickelson apologised for his “reckless” comments and added: “I offended people, and I am deeply sorry for my choice of words. 

“I’m beyond disappointed and will make every effort to self-reflect and learn from this.”

Since then Mickelson has not been spotted and was publicly criticised by fellow pros, including Rory McIlroy who called his comments “egotistical and ignorant”.

“Lefty” ducked out of both The Masters and the PGA Championship – where he was defending champion – in the wake of the backlash when he said he supported the breakaway league because it offered an opportunity to reshape the PGA.

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, Phil Mickelson confirms he WILL play in £25m rebel LIV golf tournament in first appearance since Saudi comments backlash

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He has not played since but last night the organisers of the LIV Golf Invitational at the Centurion Club, offering the first £25m prize pot, announced he will be in the 48-man field when the event starts on Thursday.

Mickelson joins Dustin Johnson – who agreed a £100m deal to take part in the new rebel series – and European Ryder Cup stars including Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell and Martin Kaymer.

The tournament will be played over 54 holes – LIV is 54 in Roman numerals – and chief executive and Aussie legend Greg Norman hailed the coup.

Norman 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.”

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Mickelson’s involvement and the end of his self-enforced exile from the game will bring even more attention to the new event with its eye-spinning prize fund.

Westwood has pointed to other sporting events that have taken place in Saudi Arabia, including F1 Grand Prix, Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight title win over Andy Ruiz and official golf tournaments to justify his involvement.

But the entry of Mickelson will change the dynamic once again and ensures he and Johnson will share the bulk of global attention.

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