Phil Mickelson gave his first public comments since accepting a spot on the controversial Saudi-funded LIV Golf Invitational series.
Mickelson said on Wednesday that he does not condone alleged human rights violations by the Saudi Arabian government. Mickelson was among a number of former major champions to leave the PGA Tour behind for the LIV Golf Invitational, which is offering mammoth purses.
“I don't condone human rights violations,” he said. “I don't know how I can be any more clear. I understand your question, but... again, I love this game of golf. I've seen the good that it's done, and I see the opportunity for LIV Golf to do a lot of good for the game throughout the world, and I'm excited to be a part of this opportunity.”
As Mickelson prepared for the first LIV Golf event to begin on Thursday, several other former major champions appear to be joining the league. The Daily Telegraph is reporting that Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed will announce they too are joining the circuit. The outlet reported they will play at LIV Golf’s first American event later this month.
The PGA Tour has not permitted players to join the competing league. Anyone participating in this week’s LIV Golf Invitational risks losing PGA Tour membership.
Besides Mickelson, the LIV Golf Invitational also includes some other former major champions, including Dustin Johnson Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell, Martin Kaymer and Louis Oosthuizen.
While golfers joining the LIV Golf Invitational might not be permitted back on the PGA Tour, they can still — for now — participate in major championships.