Top golfers who will compete in new Saudi-funded LIV Golf Invitational Series

The LIV Golf Invitational Series, a controversial new league designed to compete with the PGA Tour, will start play Thursday at the Centurion Golf Club in London.

The eight-tournament golf series, founded by two-time British Open winner Greg Norman, is supported financially by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund.

Saudi Arabia has been criticized for human rights abuses, and crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has been accused of sanctioning the 2018 murder and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Official Golf World Ranking will not recognize the event, meaning competitors will not earn any points from participating.

This has not stopped more than 40 players from committing to play for the $255 million prize money, which is the richest in golf history.

The London tournament can be streamed on the company’s website, as well as YouTube and Facebook. Here’s a look at the top players set to compete in this new golf league teeing off Thursday, at 9 a.m. ET (2 p.m. local).

On Tuesday, Johnson announced that he was resigning from the PGA Tour and intends to participate only in LIV Golf events and major championships in the future. 

Johnson, the 2016 U.S. Open champion and 2020 Masters winner, ranks third on the PGA Tour career money list and tied for 26th on the all-time wins list. The South Carolina native, who is married to Paulina Gretzky, daughter of legendary NHL star Wayne Gretzky, reportedly received $125 million from the LIV to leave the PGA Tour.

Mickelson, who became oldest player to win a major when he triumphed at the 2021 PGA Championship, will return to golf at the LIV series after a four-month hiatus. He took time away from the sport after making contentious comments about the PGA Tour's "obnoxious greed."

He also said he would join a Saudi-funded series because it was a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates.” Mickelson, who ranks second on the career money list and eighth in career wins, has not resigned his membership on the PGA Tour.

Na announced on social media Saturday that he was resigning from the PGA Tour to pursue the LIV series. He said he disagreed with the PGA’s stance on disallowing players to participate with rival series and said he desired the “freedom to play wherever I want and exercising my right as a free agent gives me that opportunity."