Phil Mickelson is one of golf’s greatest champions, a player with a resume that ranks among the best of all time. Six majors, 45 PGA Tour victories, a pro career that spans 30 years.
But when it resumes this week at the LIV Golf Invitational Series event outside of London, things will be considerably different.
Mickelson has spent the better part of the past four months underground due to the fallout associated with the start-up of this new venture.
Until Monday, he had issued no public statements, played no golf tournaments and missed two major championships, including the PGA Championship last month where he was the defending champion.
Commissioner Greg Norman and LIV Golf announced that Mickelson would be playing the inaugural event at Centurion Club, the 54-hole, 48-player tournament that will have a $25 million purse.
Mickelson, 51, gave his first interview on Monday, speaking to SI.com/Morning Read via phone prior to departing to England.
During the interview, he expressed regret about the way certain things were handled, acknowledged the last four months have given him time to reflect,
that he plans to play all eight LIV Golf series events and that he still expects to be able to compete in the major championships. And Mickelson said he would not be forfeiting his PGA Tour membership.
The league is highly controversial, not only because it is being backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, but due to the threat it potentially poses to the PGA Tour.
Mickelson, and other Tour members, have not been granted authorization by commissioner Jay Monahan to play. Mickelson offered his first public comments in a statement Monday before doing the interview.