Phil Mickelson spotted ramping up return after making Saudi Golf League decision

Mickelson signs up for controversial LIV Golf Invitational

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Phil Mickelson has been spotted back out on the golf course, just days after his return to the sport and intentions to play in the newly proposed Saudi Golf League was confirmed. Mickelson’s once glittering legacy was left in tatters in February, following a number of controversial comments surrounding Saudi Arabia and the PGA Tour.

Speaking to the author of his biography Alan Shipnuck, the six-time major champion described the Saudi state as ‘scary motherf*****s’ due to their poor human rights record, but hinted he was willing to look past this in order to ‘gain leverage’ over the PGA Tour, who he had previously accused of ‘obnoxious greed’.

His comments were widely condemned around the golfing world, which led to a grovelling apology from Mickelson where he confirmed he would take a break from competing. Eight weeks on though, it has since been confirmed that he will finally make his PGA Tour return by defending his PGA Championship title next month, whilst also confirming his Saudi Series intentions.

A statement from his management team read: “Our client Phil Mickelson is officially registered to play in the PGA Championship as well as the US Open. We have also filed a request on his behalf for a release to play in the first LIV Golf Invitational in London, June 9-11. Phil currently has no concrete plans on when and where he will play. 

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“Any actions taken are in no way a reflection of a final decision made, but rather to keep all options open.” Following the announcement, the American has been spotted ramping up his prep for the return after being spotted out on the golf course.

In a video that has circulated on social media, Mickelson was seen hitting one of his notorious ‘bombs’ off the tee during a round at Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club in California this week. It remains unknown as to how the six-time major champion will be received upon his return following the controversy, however one man who has shown his support is former world No. 1 Jon Rahm.

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Ahead of this week’s Mexico Open Rahm said: “I don’t think what’s happened recently should, or will, damage his legacy too much. That guy has given his life to golf and a lot of what we have and a lot of what we are competing on now is thanks to him.

“A lot of people focus on Tiger [Woods], but he is easily in the top three best players in the world right now. We should recognise the guy has given his life to the public – nobody has done more for the fans or signed as many autographs. I know he’s in a bit of a slump right now, for whatever that may be, but I don’t think his whole career or legacy should change because of a couple of comments.”

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