Two-time Open winner Greg Norman says his new LIV Golf International Series represents “evolution not revolution”.

The Saudi Arabia-backed series will include eight 54-hole events across Europe, America and Asia.

When asked about Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and concerns over sports washing, Norman, 67, said he is “proud” of the venture.

“If it’s good for the game of golf, it’s good for me,” the Australian told BBC Radio 5 Live.

The series is worth a total of $255m from an overall investment of $400m from the Saudi’s Public Investment Fund, which was also used to buy Premier League Newcastle United last year.

Phil Mickelson has worked closely with LIV Golf Investments but last month the six-time major champion said he “sincerely regrets” his criticism of Saudi regime and that he will take a break from the game.

 Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau then distanced themselves from the series while Henrik Stenson opted to become Europe’s next Ryder Cup captain rather than commit to the series.

Norman, chief executive of LIV Golf Investments, said he spoke to Mickelson on Wednesday and that “the door is wide open” for the American.

“There’s not a person on the planet who hasn’t said something they wish they could take back,” added the former world number one.

“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% 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.”

The series will begin in England this June and each event will comprise a team element.

Invites will start going out next week, with Norman having written a letter to “250 of the top 250 players in the world, across all tours, just explaining, from a player’s perspective, the opportunities that lay ahead for them”.

And although some big-name players have already ruled themselves out, Norman said “just think how magnificent it’d be if some kid, who’s a no-name, comes and wins himself $3m, $5m, $8m.

“Then the big names we will want to be there. It’s a slow process, but we have to start somewhere.”

The series has faced opposition from the PGA Tour, which Norman has accused of “bullying and threatening” its players for suggesting they face a lifetime ban if they take part.

“The PGA Tour came out swinging,” he said. “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.”