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Professional golfer Phil Mickelson will not take part in the famed Masters tournament this year, the first time he hasn’t swung a club in the contest since 1994.
News of the surprising absence came a month after Mickelson publicly apologized for controversial comments he made about Saudi Arabia and a new Saudi-backed golf league and said he needed “some time”.
The Masters lists Mickelson, 51, in the “former champions not playing” category on its website. He also missed out on the Players Championship earlier this month.
In February, golf writer Alan Shipnuck published an excerpt from his upcoming Mickelson biography in which the legendary golfer speaks candidly about the Saudi-backed Super Golf League, an upstart organization trying to attract some of the world’s top talent. Sport.
“They’re scary to get involved,” Mickelson said in the interview posted on golf website Fire Pit Collective.
“We know they killed [Washington Post reporter and U.S. resident Jamal] Khashoggi and have a horrible human rights record. They execute people there for being gay. Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it?” he continued. “Because this is a unique opportunity to reshape the way the PGA Tour works.”
Mickelson also said PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan “won’t do what’s right” without leverage, which Mickelson said Saudi funding provides. “I’m not even sure I want [the SGL] succeed,” he added, “but the very thought of it allows us to get things done with the [PGA] To visit.”
After the interview became public in February, Mickelson said his comments were “reckless” and that he was “deeply sorry for my choice of words” while noting that “golf is in desperate need of change”.
Among Mickelson’s criticisms is the PGA’s refusal to share revenue from broadcast rights and the association’s digital assets with tour players.
Speaking to the press earlier this month, Monahan declined to comment on any disciplinary matters related to Mickelson and said he would welcome a conversation with Mickelson about his return to the PGA Tour.
“Look, he’s a player who’s won 45 times on the PGA Tour. He’s had a Hall of Fame career. He’s won here at The Players Championship,” Monahan said, according to Golf Digest. “He’s inspired a lot of people and helped grow this tour, his tour. So as hard as it is to read some of the things that have been said, eventually a conversation will happen when he’s ready to have it, and I’ll be ready to have it too.”