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ST ALBANS, England, June 8 (Reuters) - Six-times major champion Phil Mickelson said on Wednesday he will not follow Dustin Johnson in quitting the PGA Tour as he prepares to feature in the opening event of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series.
Former world number one Johnson and fellow American Kevin Na have both resigned from the PGA Tour to play in the controversial breakaway circuit, which is bankrolled by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) and offers a total prize fund of $255 million.
Asked if the decision was based on his desire to continue playing in the Ryder Cup, Mickelson told reporters: "Like the PGA Tour, the Ryder has provided so many special memories, relationships and friendships.
"I'm hopeful to be a part of the Ryder Cup going forward, but that's not the reason to retain my membership, I've earned it."
The51-year-old, coming back after a self-imposed hiatus from the sport following a backlash over his comments on the LIV Series, added that he did not condone the alleged human rights abuses of the Saudi Arabian government.
"I'm certainly aware of what has happened with Jamal Khashoggi and I think it's terrible," he said.
"I have also seen the good that the game of golf has done throughout history and I believe LIV Golf is going to do a lot of good for the game as well."
(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Chopra/Peter Rutherford)
((Dhruv.Munjal@thomsonreuters.com; +91 9818291916;))
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