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The Saudi-backed rebel tour is expected to name its first confirmed players in the coming weeks.

According to a report by James Corrigan in the Telegraph, the LIV Golf Invitational Series has successfully lured several stars.

LIV Golf’s chief executive Greg Norman is said to have claimed a number of players, including major winners, are on the brink of signing up for the $255 million breakaway league.

Among them are believed to be two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson and former world No.1 Lee Westwood, as well as Kevin Na and Ian Poulter.

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The first of eight scheduled events will take place at the Centurion Club near London in June, and with a $25 million purse, it will be the richest tournament in the history of golf.

“We’ve respected the Masters and let it go off, but now our journey is finally coming to fruition – for the players not for me,” Norman said.

“Their rightful place to have what they want. That’s why they are still very, very, very interested. We have players signed, contrary to the white noise you’re hearing out there.

“Quite honestly, it doesn’t matter who plays, we’re going to put the event on.

“There’s a $4m first prize. I hope a kid who’s 350th in the world wins. It’ll change his life, his family’s life.

“And then a few of our events will go by and the top players will see someone winning $6m, $8m, and say ‘enough is enough, I know I can beat these guys week in week out with my hands tied behind my back’.”

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Norman reportedly admitted that the Phil Mickelson situation was a setback for his new venture – but left the door open for the six-time major winner.

It emerged he had described the Saudis as “scary m***********s”” over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and admitted he was using the new league for leverage over PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan.

But according to Norman, Mickelson will be able to play in “any event he wants to play in”.

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