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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Still out of sight, Mickelson decides to stay out of the Masters

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Three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson, out of the public eye since his inflammatory comments 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 at the Masters to a section at the bottom titled “previous champions not playing”.

The club confirmed that Mickelson has notified Augusta National that he will not play. The Masters is from April 7 to 10.

It will be the first time Mickelson hasn’t been at the Masters since 1994, when he was recovering from a broken leg while skiing.

Mickelson, who last year became the oldest golf 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 “hateful greed.” .

Two weeks later, golf writer and author Alan Shipnuck released part of his forthcoming biography on Mickelson that sheds more light on his relationship with Greg Norman and the Saudi-funded “Super Golf League.”

Mickelson told Shipnuck that the Saudis behind a proposed breakaway rival league were “scary mothers (expletive) to get involved with.”

He also said the Saudis were worth getting into bed with, despite their record of human rights abuses, if it meant a chance to change the PGA Tour.

“We know they killed (Washington Post columnist Jamal) Khashoggi and they have a horrible human rights record. They execute people there for being gay,” he said. “Knowing all this, why would I even consider it? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape the way the PGA Tour operates.”

The interview took place last November. Mickelson apologized for comments he described as “reckless.” He also said that they were unofficial. Shipnuck says they weren’t.

Longtime corporate sponsor KPMG said it was ending its relationship with Mickelson. Amstel Light followed suit, while Workday said he would not renew his contract, which was about to expire. Callaway Golf said its relationship with Mickelson dating back to 2004 would end, while American Express no longer wanted Mickelson to host the PGA Tour La Quinta, California event.

Mickelson has not played since the Saudi International on February 6. He said in his statement that he “desperately needed” time off to sort out our priorities.

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said on The Players Championship that he had not spoken with Mickelson and that he hoped to have a conversation when Mickelson was ready to call.

Mickelson won the first of his six majors at the 2004 Masters, and a silhouette of his jump as his winning birdie putt landed on 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 seriously injured his right leg and foot in a February 2021 car accident in Los Angeles, said he was a long way from competing at a high level, and that starts with being able to walk and play. He competed in the PNC Championships in December with his son while riding a cart.

A spokesman for Woods said last week that it was too early to make an announcement.


More AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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