The Masters: Mickleson not 'disinvited' from Augusta

By Sports Desk April 06, 2022

Masters and Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley says Phil Mickelson was not "disinvited" from the first major of the year.

Six-time major winner Mickelson in February revealed he was taking a hiatus following the backlash to his comments promoting a Saudi Arabia-backed Super Golf League. 

The 51-year-old American had suggested that although Saudi Arabia has "a horrible record on human rights", the threat of the potential breakaway competition could be used to "reshape how the PGA Tour operates".

Mickelson subsequently apologised for making "reckless" comments.

There will be no fourth Masters title for the San Diego native this week, as he is not in the field in Georgia. 

Ridley on Wednesday denied that Mickelson's absence is because he is not welcome.

He said in a press conference: "I would like to say we did not disinvite Phil. Phil is a three-time Masters Champion and is invited in that category and many other categories; he's the defending PGA Champion. 

"Phil reached out to me, I think it was in late February, early March, and let me know that he did not intend to play. That was by way of a text. 

"And I thanked him for his courtesy in letting me know.  I told him that we certainly appreciated that and, you know, told him that I was certainly willing to discuss that further with him if he'd like, and he thanked me, and we had a very cordial exchange."

While Ridley says it will be strange not to see Mickelson tee off on Thursday, he is naturally delighted that Tiger Woods' is set to make a sensational comeback.

"Well, certainly not anything we anticipated. I think in Phil's case, he made a personal decision, and I don't know anything beyond that," Jacobs said.

"I know that Phil has been a real fixture here at the Masters for many, many years. He's been a big part of our history. I certainly and we certainly wish him the best sort of working through the issues he's dealing with right now. 

"As it relates to Tiger, it's just truly amazing. I don't even know how else to say it. I would have probably taken some pretty high odds a few weeks or a few months ago, even a few weeks ago, whether or not he would be here. 

"But when you think about it, it really shouldn't surprise us. He is one of the most determined, dedicated athletes that I have ever seen in my life. 

"I saw him out last Tuesday when he was out practising, was in great spirits and had Charlie [his son] with him. It was interesting yesterday in his press conference, he said the only really issue is walking; that his golf swing's fine. So who knows what might happen this week, but we are excited he's here."

Related items

  • Paul Casey to join LIV Golf Paul Casey to join LIV Golf

    England’s Paul Casey, ranked 26th in the world, has become the latest player to join the Saudi Arabia-funded LIV Golf Invitational.

    Casey has won 21 times as a professional, including three times on the PGA Tour and another 15 on the European Tour. He also represented Team Europe five times in the Ryder Cup.

    A back injury has kept Casey sidelined since he took part in the WGC Match Play Championship in March. He played two holes of his opening match when he conceded due to back spasms, before withdrawing from the Masters, PGA Championship and U.S. Open.

    He plans to make his LIV debut later this month at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

    Casey joins a growing list of players to accept PGA Tour bans and join the breakaway series, fronted by CEO Greg Norman and funded by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.

    Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson are some of the marquee names that have come on board with the promise of big signing bonuses, hefty prize purses and an eased schedule.

  • Branden Grace takes out LIV Golf Portland Branden Grace takes out LIV Golf Portland

    Branden Grace posted a seven-under 65 in the final round on Saturday, leapfrogging Dustin Johnson and Carlos Ortiz to win LIV Golf Portland.

    Two shots behind the co-leaders at the start of the third round, Grace reeled off four birdies in the final six holes, including three consecutive birdies between 15 and 17, to take out the tournament.

    With the victory, the South African follows up compatriot Charl Schwartel's win in London at LIV Golf's inaugural event in June.

    The South African quartet that makes up Stinger GC - Grace, Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen and Hennie du Plessis – could only manage second in the team standings, though, with Johnson's 4 Aces GC taking out first.

    "What a day. It's been like this the whole day, the crowd came out and I played flawless golf," Grace said afterwards. "I played, really, really well when I needed to do something special. It came up and I managed to pull it off, but what a great day.

    "I knew the back nine, I had to kind of dig deep. Carlos was playing great golf, DJ was coming back and I think, one of the big things for me today was the birdie on 13.

    "Then I thought, 'Now, I'm in with it.' Obviously, the finish was just amazing."  

    Amid the news former Ryder Cup player Paul Casey defected from the PGA Tour to the Saudi-backed breakaway competition, Grace finished the tournament on 13-under, two strokes ahead of Ortiz who posted a three-under 69 on Saturday.

    They were followed by 2020 Masters winner Johnson and another recent defector in Patrick Reed, who finished on nine-under after 54 holes.

    Six-time major champion Phil Mickelson finished tied for 40th this week with a 54-hole score of 10-over. Through two LIV Golf events, Mickelson is a combined 20-over par.

  • Poston maintains lead after third-round at John Deere Classic Poston maintains lead after third-round at John Deere Classic

    J.T. Poston holds a three-stroke lead heading into the final round of the John Deere Classic after shooting a four-under 67 on Saturday.

    Trying to complete a wire-to-wire victory after tying for second last weekend at the Travelers Championship, Poston sits on 19-under after 54 holes at TPC Deere Run.

    The 29-year-old started strongly with three birdies on the front nine, but suffered a blip on the closing nine holes, with a birdie on 14 softening the blow of bogeys on 12 and 15.

    He recovered to take momentum into Sunday with an eagle on the par-five 17th, forcing his way past the bunkers on his approach to the green to then one-putt and restore breathing room from the chasing pack.

    Despite the solid form coming into this weekend in Silvis, Poston's lone win on the PGA Tour came in 2019, taking out the Wyndham Championship.

    He leads a three-way tie for second between Scott Stallings, Denny McCarthy and Emiliano Grillo, who birdied four of the last five holes on Saturday to finish on 16-under.

    Out of the top four players on the leaderboard, McCarthy is the lone player not to have won a tournament on the PGA Tour, with Stallings and Grillo's last wins coming in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

    Trailing them is Callum Tarren on 15-under, with Bo Hoag and Chris Naegel tied for sixth on 14-under.

    Hoag, the world number 524, was Saturday's big mover with a third-round score of eight-under, opening the first four holes with two birdies and an eagle.

    He more than compensated for his solitary bogey on 15 with birdies on 14, 16 and 17 to finish with the day's lowest score.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.