Three-time champion Phil Mickelson was NOT disinvited from the Masters amid the fallout from his controversial comments on the Saudi-backed league insists tournament chairman Fred Ridley
- Three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson will not be at the 2022 tournament
- The lefty is taking a break following his comments on the Saudi-backed league
- The 51-year-old controversially slammed the PGA Tour for ‘obnoxious greed’
- Mickelson’s absence marks the first time that he will miss the Masters since 1994
- Augusta chairman Fred Ridley insisted he had not been disinvited from the event
Phil Mickelson was not ‘disinvited’ from the 86th Masters, according to tournament chairman Fred Ridley.
Mickelson is taking a break from golf following the fall-out from his explosive comments about the PGA Tour and a Saudi-backed rival circuit, the six-time major winner accusing the former of ‘obnoxious greed’ and acting like a ‘dictatorship’.
The 51-year-old also admitted he was well aware of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and branded the Saudi’s ‘scary motherf*****s’ but was using the threat of a breakaway to ‘reshape’ how the Tour operates.
Phil Mickelson (above) was not ‘disinvited’ from the 86th Masters, according to Fred Ridley
The three-time champions (pictured in 2010) will miss the Masters amid his break from golf
Towards the end of last month, it was revealed that the three-time winner would not be competing in this year’s tournament after he was listed among the past champions not playing.
Mickelson’s absence from the year’s opening major will mark the first time that he will miss the Masters since 1994.
It had been suggested that Mickelson had either been banned by the PGA Tour or encouraged by Masters officials not to compete at Augusta National this week, but Ridley said the latter was certainly not the case.
‘We did not disinvite Phil,’ Ridley said in his annual pre-tournament press conference.
Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley insisted Mickelson informed him that he would not play this year’s event
‘He is a three-time Masters champion and is invited in that category and many others. He is the (US) PGA champion.
‘Phil reached out to me, I think in late February, early March and let me know he did not intend to play. That was by way of text.
‘I thanked him for his courtesy of letting me know and told him I was willing to discuss that further if he liked and we had a very cordial exchange.
Mickelson won his sixth major tournament at the PGA Championship last year
‘He made a personal decision and I don’t know anything beyond that. Phil has been a real fixture here for many, many years and a big part of our history and we certainly wish him the best in working through the issues he has now.’
Ridley declined to be drawn on whether players who competed in events on the rival tour – recently named the LIV Golf Invitational Series – would subsequently not be invited to the Masters.
What is the LIV Series?
The breakaway circuit will launch in London in June, at the Centurion Club near St Albans.
It will tee off on June 9, one week before the US Open, with a £19m purse for a 48-man field.
Seven more events will follow run by LIV Golf, going to the US (four events) Thailand and Saudi Arabia.
Those seven will each be worth £19m. A £23m prize for the top three players of the first seven events will be available.
The eighth event will be a team championship with a £38m prize — location TBC.
Each event will be richer than the four majors.
‘I would start by saying that our mission is always to act in the best interests of the game in whatever form that may take,’ he added.
‘I think that golf’s in a good place right now. There’s more participation. Purses on the professional tours are the highest they have ever been. Clubs and courses I think are in healthy financial positions.
‘We have been pretty clear in our belief that the world tours have done a great job in promoting the game over the years. Beyond that, there’s so much that we don’t know about what might happen or could happen that I just don’t think I could say much more beyond that.’
The Saudi league will make a stunning foray into golf with a series of eight tournaments beginning at the Centurion Club, St Albans, on June 9.
The jaw-dropping opener will offer a prize fund for 48 players that will be twice the amount available at the 150th Open at St Andrews in July.
The PGA Tour could rest assured that they have the backing of the best young players, after the top 20 made their feelings known.
But Ryder Cup veterans Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia and Paul Casey have all been linked to the breakaway tour for some time.
Meanwhile, 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott had previously hinted he had been in talks to join the SGL.
He suggested he had been enticed by the ‘appealing schedule’ after he confirmed he was in talks to join the league but joked he was ‘sworn to secrecy’.