Still Out Of Sight, Mickelson Decides To Sit Out The Masters
- Category: Inside Golf
- Published: 2022-03-24
By DOUG FERGUSON, Associated Press
Three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson, out of public view since his inflammatory remarks about the Saudi-funded rival league and the PGA TOUR, has decided not to play at Augusta National this year.
Mickelson’s name was moved from the list of players expected to compete in the Masters to a section at the bottom titled, “past champions not playing.”
The club confirmed that Mickelson has notified Augusta National he will not be playing. The Masters is April 7-10.
It will be the first time Mickelson is not at the Masters since 1994, when he was recovering from a broken leg suffered while skiing.
Mickelson, who last year became golf’s oldest major champion when he won the PGA Championship at age 50, was at the Saudi International when he accused the PGA TOUR in a Golf Digest interview of “obnoxious greed.”
Two weeks later, golf writer and author Alan Shipnuck published part of his upcoming biography on Mickelson that shed further insight into his involved with Greg Norman and the Saudi-funded “Super Golf League.”
Mickelson told Shipnuck the Saudis behind a proposed breakaway rival league were “scary mother (expletive)s to get involved with.”
He also said it was worth getting in bed with the Saudis, despite their history of human rights abuses, if it meant a chance to change the PGA TOUR.
“We know they killed (Washington Post columnist Jamal) Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights. They execute people over there for being gay,” he said. “Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA TOUR operates.”
The interview took place last November. Mickelson apologized for the comments that he described as “reckless.” He also said they were off the record. Shipnuck says they were not.
Longtime corporate sponsor KPMG said it was ending its relationship with Mickelson. Amstel Light followed suit, while Workday said it would not be renewing its contract, which was due to expire. Callaway Golf said its relationship with Mickelson that dates to 2004 would be paused, while American Express no longer wanted Mickelson as its tournament host of the PGA TOUR event La Quinta, California.
Mickelson has not played since the Saudi International on Feb. 6. He said in his statement that he “desperately needed” time away to sort our his priorities.
PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan said at The Players Championship he has not spoken with Mickelson and it was a conversation he looked forward to having when Mickelson was ready to call.
Mickelson won the first of his six majors at the 2004 Masters, and a silhouette of his leap when his winning birdie putt fell ono the 18th hole is now his personal logo. He also won the Masters in 2006 and 2010. Only Arnold Palmer, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus have won more green jackets.
Woods, meanwhile, has not been removed from the list of players expected to compete. Woods, who badly injured his right leg and foot in a February 2021 car crash in Los Angeles, has said he was a long way off from competing at a high level, and that starts with being able to walk and play. He competed in the PNC Championship in December with his son while riding a cart.
A spokesman for Woods said it was too soon to make an announcement.