Phil Mickelson has registered to play in next month’s PGA Championship and the U.S. Open in June, and his agents have requested a release from the PGA Tour to allow the six-time major champion to play in the first event of the Saudi Arabian-financed LIV Golf Invitational Series in London in June.
In a statement, Mickelson’s longtime agent, Steve Loy of Sportfive, said he still hasn’t decided whether he will play in any of the events.
“Phil currently has no concrete plans on when and where he will play,” Loy said. “Any actions taken are in no way a reflection of a final decision made, but rather to keep all options open.”
Monday was the deadline for players to ask for a conflicting event release from the PGA Tour to play in the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational on June 9-11.
Mickelson, 51, hasn’t played in an official tour event since missing the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in late January. Mickelson has been embroiled in controversy since author Alan Shipnuck released an excerpt from his upcoming unauthorized biography of him, in which Mickelson criticized the PGA Tour and said he was involved with drawing up the working agreement for a breakaway league being financed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. In it, Mickelson described the Saudis as “scary” but said he was looking past their controversial history of human rights violations to gain leverage with the PGA Tour.
Mickelson’s comments drew widespread criticism, including from fellow PGA Tour pros, leading him to apologize days later.
Several of his longtime sponsors, including Amstel Light, KPMG and Workday, ended their relationships with him. Callaway also paused its relationship with him. The American Express tournament said he would no longer serve as its host and it would no longer be associated with his foundation.
Mickelson, a three-time Masters champion, didn’t play in the tournament earlier this month for the first time since 1994. Augusta National Golf Club chairman Fred Ridley said Mickelson was qualified to play as a former champion, but Mickelson chose not to compete. It would have been his 30th start in the Masters.
Mickelson is the defending PGA Championship winner after unexpectedly becoming the oldest major champion at 50 in May 2021 with his victory at the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island, South Carolina.
The PGA Championship will be played at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on May 19-22. The U.S. Open will be played at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, on June 16-19.
The LIV Golf Invitational Series, which is being fronted by two-time Open Championship winner Greg Norman, announced in March that it will stage an eight-event series this year, with seven regular-season tournaments. The series will conclude with a team championship match-play finale at Trump National Doral in Miami, which is owned by former U.S. President Donald Trump, on Oct. 27-30, the series announced on Monday.
Total prize money for the eight events will be $255 million, according to LIV Golf Investments, and the seven regular-season tournaments will have total purses of $25 million, which would be the richest in professional golf, with $20 million in individual prizes and $5 million for the top three teams. The top three individuals after the seven regular-season events will also share a $30 million bonus.
The season-ending team match-play championship will provide another $50 million in prizes for 12 teams in a knockout-style event. The four players on the winning team will split $16 million, followed by $10 million for second and $8 million for third.
“There could not be a more perfect location to host our biggest event of the year at a course with such a long history with professional golfers, and we are excited to add another piece of history to this famed destination,” Norman said in a statement on Monday. “I am very much looking forward to October to watch these teams go head-to-head to compete for the largest prize purse in tournament history.”
Since the opening LIV event in London conflicts with the RBC Canadian Open in Ontario on June 9-12, PGA Tour players would have to be granted a release from the tour to compete in any other event.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan told players after the PGA Championship last May that anyone who joined the Saudi-financed league would be suspended and potentially face a lifetime ban from the PGA Tour.