Greg Norman says door WIDE OPEN for Phil Mickelson when he returns

Greg Norman told the media he had spoken to Phil Mickelson on the phone before the announcement of the LIV Golf Invitational Series.

Greg Norman says door WIDE OPEN for Phil Mickelson when he returns
Greg Norman says door WIDE OPEN for Phil Mickelson when he returns

Greg Norman says he has spoken to Phil Mickelson on the phone and told the American "the door is wide open" to play in his new league. 

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Two-time Open winner Norman, the chief executive of LIV Golf Investments, this week announced his Saudi Arabia-backed series. 

It will include eight, 54-hole events across Europe, America and Asia with individual and team prize purses that will make your head spin. 

Norman, 67, recently spoke to BBC Radio 5 Live where he told the radio station, "if it's good for the game of golf, it's good for me", when questioned directly about sportswashing and Saudi Arabia's human rights abuses. 

Mickelson - we now know - has been working extremely closely with LIV Golf Investments and his comments suggest he had hired attorneys to draw up the stipulations for the new league.

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Greg Norman says door WIDE OPEN for Phil Mickelson when he returns

He acknowledged he was using the Saudis as leverage to force the PGA Tour into real change. 

Mickelson described it as a "once in a liftetime" opportunity to re-shape the PGA Tour. He also had accused them of "obnoxious greed". 

It was an extraordinary fall from grace and painted Mickelson - to many - as unflatteringly amoral. 

Lefty has since said he regrets what he said to the biographer Alan Shipnuck, although in his Instagram statement he did not apologise directly to the PGA Tour. 

Instead, he hailed the people he was working with as "visionaries" before stating he was taking a break from the game to focus on the man he wanted to be. 

Norman said he spoke to Mickelson on 16 March by phone.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: "There's not a person on the planet who hasn't said something they wish they could take back.

"We're trying to serve fans, grow the game and give players additional opportunities. We're not a political organisation.

"There are going to be individuals out there who want to make comments but we're going to stay on course.

"I would venture to say that not 100 per cent of golfers will say that [criticism].

"Every player has a choice and we're giving them an opportunity. If they don't want to come, so be it. It's their choice."

In the wake of Mickelson's comments calling the Saudis "scary motherf---ers", several high-profile players distanced themselves from the league. 

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Greg Norman says door WIDE OPEN for Phil Mickelson when he returns

They included Bryson DeChambeau, Xander Schauffele and Dustin Johnson. 

Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas are just a few of golf's elite players who have publicly stated they will not leave the PGA Tour. 

The series starting this summer is worth a total of $255million. 

Norman said the invitations will start going out next week. 

He has previously written to players from all over the world explaining his ideas from a player's perspective. 

The Great White Shark also penned a letter to PGA Tour chief Jay Monahan, accusing them of bullying and threatening its players. 

Norman said: "The PGA Tour came out swinging. They put a giant redwood tree across the road for us, but we've worked around that.

"We're a start-up, but we're here for the long term. We understand the process to get going and we've got an incredible model to allow that.

"Giving the opportunity for players, as independent contractors, is critically important to me. I've fought for the players' rights to be able to increase their market value.

"What is the Tour afraid of by LIV coming along and offering a new opportunity for independent contractors to play? We're not asking players to make a choice on one tour or another, they can play both."

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