On Thursday, the Professional Golf Association (PGA) Tour suspended some of the best golfers in the world including Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, and 15 others who joined the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series that offers USD 25 million in prizes.
The Saudi-backed event is currently underway in London, at the Centurion Club in St Albans.
Six-time major champion Mickelson joined a growing number of stars being lured away from the PGA by the enormous prize money as well as the prospect of a new prestigious golf tournament.
There has been criticism because the breakaway tour is being bankrolled by the Saudi regime accused of appalling human rights abuses, including the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has repeatedly threatened a lifetime ban for players participating in the Saudi-backed events.
PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan informed the TOUR membership today that players competing without releases are suspended and ineligible to participate in TOUR-sanctioned competition.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 9, 2022
Phil Mickelson was repeatedly grilled about joining the Saudi-backed tournament. The golfer posted a statement on social media in which he tries to explain his decision.
“I am ready to come back and play the game I love but after 32 years this new path is a fresh start, one that is exciting for me at this stage of my career and is transformative, not just for myself, but ideally for the game and my peers,” the golfer wrote on Twitter.
— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) June 6, 2022
Mickelson, who counts six major championships among his 45 PGA Tour wins, former world number one golfer Dustin Johnson and 2017 Masters winner Sergio Garcia is among the higher-profile golfers in the 48-player field at Centurion Club this week.