Phil Mickelson has reportedly held secret talks with mystery Saudi Arabian backers in a bid to join their breakaway Premier Golf League, according to The Mail Online.
The report claims that five-time major champion Mickelson, who is competing in the controversial Saudi International this week, held talks with key figures hoping to launch a new 48-man, 18-tournament series within the next two years.
As a result of the plans to attract the best players in the world, the proposed Premier Golf League now poses a major threat to both the PGA Tour and European Tour.
News first broke of the plans last weekend via golf journalist Geoff Shackelford that the British-based World Golf Group had announced its structure for a new professional Tour, with a scheduled start in 2021 or 2022.
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But now it has been revealed by the Mail Online that the breakaway circuit is being heavily funded by Saudi Arabian money, and that has led to negotiations starting with the likes of Mickelson at this week's Saudi International on the European Tour.
Mickelson is receiving a huge appearance fee to compete in this week's tournament after both Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods turned down in the region of $3 million to take part.
Lefty has caused outrage on social media ever since confirming his participation in the Saudi International as it falls the same week as the Phoenix Open, which he has played for 27 consecutive years on a course, TPC Scottsdale, where he spent the majority of his younger years as a golfer.
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This so-called Premier Golf League would span eight months from January to September and carry a total prize fund in the region of $240 million, which equates to £183 million.
There would be no cuts in the tournaments, and there would be individual and team league formats.
Weekly individual winner would claim $2 million (£1.5 million) of the $10 million (£7.5 million) purse, the overall individual champion will taking home a cool $10 million (£7.5 million) bonus.
There would also be a whopping $40 million (£30 million) team prize fund, with $14 million (£10.7 million) split between a winning four-man team.
American Colin Neville - a sports consultant and partner in The Raine Group (which helped broker David Beckham's purchase of an MLS football franchise) has also been named as a major backer of the Premier Golf League.
The Yale University graduate leads Raine's sports division which oversaw the $4 billion (£3.07 billion) sale of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and helped Manchester City sell a 13% stake in the club to a group of Chinese investors at a $3 billion (£2.31 billion) valuation.
Another stakeholder has been confirmed as London financier Andrew Gardiner, a director at Barclays Capital and former executive at Lehman Brothers.
According to The Mail's report, these major players were making a sales pitch to Mickelson during a pre-tournament Pro-Am at the Royal Greens Golf Club in Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah Economic City.
"I had the chance to spend time with, and play with, the gentlemen in charge of trying to start a new Premier League," said Mickelson.
"It was fascinating to talk with them and ask some questions and see what their plans are. Where they started, how they started and I just got their background, which was very interesting.
"I haven't had the chance to put it all together and think about what I want to say about it publicly, but it was an informative day for me to have the chance to spend time with them.
"Three of them played, one of them didn't, but these are the gentlemen behind it all."
CEO of the Saudi Golf Federation Majed Al Surour was the other player in their group.
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Mickelson also explained, just like Ernie Els earlier in the week, that he had experienced a similar scenario when Greg Norman tried to set up a world golf tour in 1995.
Only this time around things are a bit different, admits the American.
"Twenty-five years ago, I don't remember it being really tangible," said Mickelson.
"It was more like a concept. This seems a lot more than a concept.
"Before I formulate an opinion I'll look at whether or not this is a good thing for fans, is this a good thing for sponsors, and is it going to be good for television?
"How does it affect all those involved? But I asked a lot of questions today and there are some very interesting ideas, and it seems very well put together."