Augusta National President Fred Ridley on Wednesday denied rumors that top golfer Phil Mickelson has been disinvited from this year’s Masters tournament.
Many have speculated that the 51-year-old three-time Masters winner was unable to play this year due to his critical comments about the PGA and his efforts to support a new competitive professional golf league. by Saudi Arabia.
Mickelson has played in every Masters tournament since 1994, and this will be the first time he has missed a game in decades.
But Augusta boss Ridley insists the Masters hasn’t stopped him from playing this year.
“Well, first of all, I would like to say that we didn’t uninvite Phil,” Ridley said, according to the New York Post. “Phil is a three-time Masters champion and guest in this category and many other categories; he is the defending PGA Champion.
Ridley explained that the decision not to play was entirely up to Mickelson.
“Phil contacted me, I think it was late February, early March, and let me know he had no intention of playing. It was through a text. And I thanked him for his courtesy letting me know, I told him we certainly appreciate that and, you know, I told him I was certainly willing to discuss this further with him if he wished, and he thanked me, and we had a very cordial exchange,” Ridley said, adding that the golfer’s decision was unexpected.
“I think in Phil’s case…he made a personal decision, and I don’t really…I don’t know anything beyond that,” Ridley insisted. “I know Phil has been a fixture here at the Masters for many, many years. He’s been a big part of our history. I certainly wish him and we certainly wish him the best in resolving the issues he’s facing at the moment. .
Augusta National President Fred Ridley (David Cannon/Getty Images)
Mickelson had been on the “non-playing former champions” list on the Masters website since March 21.
The PGA champion has been embroiled in controversy since February when he slammed the PGA and made glowing comments about forming a rival league.
In February, Mickelson admitted Saudi Arabia had a terrible human rights record, but insisted a competing league would be worth helping, “Because it’s a unique opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour works.”
He also accused the PGA of being a “dictatorship” and not a democracy.
Mickelson later apologized for his comments, saying: “While it doesn’t look like it now given my recent comments, my actions throughout this process have always been in the best interests of golf, my peers, sponsors and fans.”
He added that “the biggest problem is that I used words that I sincerely regret and that do not reflect my true feelings or intentions.”
A statement from Phil Mickelson pic.twitter.com/2saaXIxhpu
— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) February 22, 2022
However, Mickelson has not backed down on his stance that the PGA needs reform.
Either way, his comments cost him several sponsors. Almost immediately, accounting giant KPMG and Amstel Light beer cut ties with the golfer. And Callaway Golf also announced that it was “suspending” its relationship with Mickelson.
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