Dustin Johnson the headline act in inaugural LIV Golf Invitational event but Mickelson absent

By Sports Desk June 01, 2022

Dustin Johnson is among the 42 confirmed entrants for the first event of the controversial LIV Golf Invitational Series but Phil Mickelson's name was not among the participants for the Saudi-funded competition.

Two-time major winner Johnson is the highest-profile name in three-day event, which will be held at Centurion Club near London from June 9-11.

Sergio Garcia, Kevin Na, Louis Oosthuizen, Ian Poulter, Charl Schwartzel, Graeme McDowell and Lee Westwood are also set to feature in a tournament that will have 12 teams and 48 players.

Johnson's name is perhaps the most surprising, with the former world number one having gone back-and-forth over his participation and issued a statement back in February pledging his future to the PGA Tour.

On Tuesday, his agent David Winkle released a statement quoted by ESPN that read: "Dustin has been contemplating the opportunity off-and-on for the past couple of years.

"Ultimately, he decided it was in his and his family's best interest to pursue it. Dustin has never had an issue with the PGA Tour and is grateful for all it has given him, but in the end, felt this was too compelling to pass up."

Mickelson had long been linked with the event, but the 51-year-old has not played since apologising for comments made about the Saudi Arabia regime. The American said in February he was taking a break from golf and did not defend his US PGA Championship last month.

The series has courted plenty of controversy due to the fact it is being funded by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, leading to claims of sportswashing.

The inaugural tournament clashes with the Canadian Open on the PGA Tour, an event of which Johnson is a previous winner.

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