After taking a three and a half month hiatus from professional golf, Phil Mickelson is expected to return this week. The highly anticipated appearance will not occur at a PGA Tour or major championship event, but rather at the LIV Golf London event.
League CEO Greg Norman confirmed on Monday that Mickelson will take part in the first event, which kicks off outside London on Thursday.
“Phil Mickelson is unequivocally one of the greatest golfers of this generation,” Norman said in a statement. “His contributions to the sport and his connection to fans around the world cannot be overstated and we are grateful to have him.”
Sightings of Mickelson in recent months have been rare. Once extremely active on social media, the 51-year-old has also been silent for the past 100 days.
On February 22, Mickelson announced that he would take “time to prioritize those I love the most and work to be the man I want to be.” The comments he made in a recently published biography, he exposed the doubts he had with the PGA Tour and the steps he took to help LIV Golf Investments create a series of rival events. They also included Mickelson’s goal of securing deals with a brand funded by the Saudi government: leverage at the negotiating table with the PGA Tour.
Mickelson will take part in the 48-man event, which made waves last week when two-time major winner Dustin Johnson was announced as part of the squad.
The event, held at the Centurion Club outside London, begins on Thursday and will be 54 holes, starting with a shotgun tee. It will consist of 48 players, all selected from 12 four-man teams in a draft on Tuesday. Teams and captains will be announced in Tuesday’s draft, along with team names. Mickelson will almost certainly be one of the 12 captains.
What remains unclear are Mickelson’s intentions with the PGA Tour, where he enjoyed a 30-year career. It’s possible Mickelson was disciplined earlier this spring when the news broke, but the Tour isn’t making that information public.
Speaking just two weeks after Mickelson’s announcement, Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said he had not discussed anything with Mickelson. “I think as far as Phil is concerned, you said it; the ball is in his court,” Monahan said during the Players Championship. “He said he was walking away and wanted some time to think things over. It’s something that I and we will respect and honor.
“When he’s ready to return to the PGA Tour, we’ll have that conversation. It’s a conversation I look forward to.
Mickelson did not return to the Tour in the months that followed, even declining to compete in the first two major championships of the year, both of which are run by governing bodies other than the Tour. Mickelson texted Augusta National President Fred Ridley that he would not be playing at the Masters in April and informed the PGA Championship that he would not be defending his title at Southern Hills. Both announcements came via the tournaments themselves, not Mickelson.
As of now, there is at least one date for Mickelson to play golf publicly, and it’s only days away. The US Open, hosted by the USGA and the only major championship Mickelson has never won, will take place a week later in Massachusetts.