Phil Mickelson Will Miss the Masters for the First Time Since 1994

Phil Mickelson Champions debut

It has been confirmed that Phil Mickelson’s hiatus from competitive golf will continue until the Masters Tournament is over, at least.

It was reported that Mickelson’s name was removed on Monday morning from the list of players who will compete at Augusta National next month. It was then confirmed later in the day by a spokesperson for Augusta National that Mickelson has opted to miss the first major of 2022, one which he has won three times.

At the time of writing, no official reason has been provided for Mickelson’s withdrawal.

Mickelson hasn’t started a tournament since the Saudi International in early February, and he was last seen at a PGA TOUR event at the Farmers Insurance Open in late January.

See also: Golf’s Biggest Event of the Year – the Masters

The Californian’s self-imposed absence from the game comes after the release of controversial comments Mickelson claims he made to golf writer Alan Shipnuck in an off the record interview in November. Shipnuck has disputed Mickelson’s claim it was off the record, and the discussion was released last month in the form of an excerpt from his upcoming unauthorized biography, where the six-time major winner admits to being involved in drawing up the operating agreement for the proposed breakaway league, which Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is financing.

Leverage

In the excerpt of the book released, Mickelson talks about using the Saudi-backed league, known as the LIV Golf Invitational Series, to gain leverage against the PGA TOUR while also admitting the Saudi regime are responsible for committing human-rights atrocities.

“[The Saudis] are scary motherfu–ers to get involved with,” Mickelson said to Shipnuck. “We know they killed [Washington Post reporter and U.S. resident Jamal] Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights. They execute people over there for being gay. 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 operate.”

The backlash Mickelson received was significant. Calloway paused their sponsorship with Mickelson while Amstel Light, KPMG and Workday decided to end their deals with Mickelson altogether. The American Express tournament then announced Mickelson would no longer serve as their host, and Mickelson’s foundation would no longer be associated with the event. In response, Mickelson released a statement announcing he would be taking “time away” from the game.

He said: “Although it doesn’t look this way now given my recent comments, my actions throughout this process have always been in the best interest of golf, my peers, sponsors, and fans… There is the problem of off-the-record comments being shared out of context and without my consent, but the bigger issue is that I used words that do not reflect my true feelings or intentions. It was reckless, I offended people, and I am deeply sorry for my choice of words. I’m beyond disappointed and will make every effort to self-reflect and learn from this.

“I have experienced many successful and rewarding moments that I will always cherish, but I have often failed myself and others too. For the past ten years, I have felt the pressure and stress slowly affecting me at a deeper level. I know I have not been my best and desperately need some time away to prioritize the ones I love most and work on being the man I want to be.”

Neither Mickelson nor Tour commissioner Jay Monahan have commented on whether the PGA TOUR has imposed any suspension on Mickelson or how long his hiatus from the game will last. Reporters asked Monahan at The Players Championship if any suspension had been imposed on Mickelson, and he replied, “We don’t comment on disciplinary matters, potential matters or actual matters. But every player is accountable for their actions out here.”

Scenarios

Monahan then said that he had not spoken with Mickelson at all since the interview with Shipnuck had gone public and said a conversation with him would be essential before Mickelson returns to the Tour.
“I think the ball is in his court. I would welcome a phone call from him,” Monahan said. “It’s hard for me to talk about the different scenarios that could play out.”

This will be the first time Mickelson has missed the Masters since 1994, the year after his pro debut at the event. It is an event he has won three times, in 2004, 2006 and 2010. Augusta National is a course Mickelson enjoys playing, having finished in the top ten 15 times here and only missing three cuts.

See also: Greg Norman’s Plans for a New Golf Series This Summer

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