Augusta, Georgia – Three-time Masters champion Fred Ridley, president of Augusta National Golf Club, said Phil Mickelson He pulled out of this year’s tournament and was eligible to compete if he wanted to.
Mickelson notified Ridley, via text message, in late February or early March that he would not be playing in this week’s Masters Tournament.
“I would say we haven’t ruled out Phil,” Ridley said during a news conference on Wednesday. “Phil is a three-time Masters champion and has been invited into this and many other categories; he is a PGA title holder.
“Phil reached out to me…and told me he didn’t intend to play. It was via text message, and I thanked him for being so kind to let me know. I told him we definitely appreciated it and, you know, told him I’d definitely be willing to discuss this with him if he wanted to. He thanked me, and we had a very friendly exchange.”
Mickelson, who last year became the oldest adult champ at age 50 with an unexpected PGA Championship win on Kiawah Island, South Carolina, has not played in a PGA Tour event in more than two months. He last played at the Farmers Insurance Open in late January and missed the cut.
On February 17, author Alan Shipnuck published Michaelson’s controversial comments about the PGA Tour and a proposed dissident league being funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, the country’s sovereign wealth fund, which is estimated to be worth about $500 billion.
Mickelson told Shipnuck, who has published an excerpt from his upcoming book, “Phil: The Rip-Roaring (And Unauthorized!) The Autobiography of Golf’s Most Colorful Star”: Fire Pit Collective’s website.
“… were killed [Washington Post journalist and U.S. resident Jamal] Khashoggi has a horrific human rights record,” Mickelson continued, in an interview that Shippink said happened in November. They execute people there for being gay. Knowing all this, why am I even thinking about it? Because this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour works.”
Mickelson’s comments were criticized by fellow pros on the PGA Tour. A few of his old sponsors, including KPMG, Amstel Light and Workday, have ended their relationships with him. Callaway has discontinued her relationship with Mickelson, the six-time winner.
Mickelson later apologized for his comments.
“It was reckless, I offended people, and I am deeply sorry for my choice of words,” Mickelson wrote in his apology. “I am very disappointed and will do my best to self-reflection and learn from this.”
Mickelson wrote that he is taking a break from playing golf. PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said at the Players Championship last month that he has not yet spoken to Mickelson.
“I know I haven’t been my best, and I desperately need some time away to prioritize those I love most and work towards being the man I want to be,” Mickelson wrote.
It could have been Mickelson’s 30th Masters appearance. The last time he won a green jacket was in 2010.
“He made a personal decision, and I don’t know anything beyond that,” Ridley said. “I know Phil has been a real player here at the Masters for many years. He has been a huge part of our history. I am definitely and certainly wish him the best kind of work through the issues he is dealing with now.”
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