Phil Mickelson is not at the Masters for the first time in three decades. The why part is clear, his absence an upshot of his fiery, bombastic remarks and alleged conduct regarding the upstart Saudi-back golf league. Whether it was ultimately Mickelson’s decision not to be at Augusta National or if it was a decision made for him, however, was a matter of debate. On Wednesday, Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley cleared the air.
Speaking to the media during his annual press conference, Ridley said that Mickelson’s absence at the 2022 Masters came from Mickelson and Mickelson alone.
“We did not disinvite Phil,” Ridley said. “He is a three-time Masters 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.”
On March 21, fans noticed that Mickelson’s name was no longer listed in this year’s field on the tournament website. Instead Mickelson was listed under “Past Champions Not Playing”. As this development spread on social media, a source confirmed to Golf Digest that Mickelson would indeed not be in the competition.
Mickelson, 51, is a three-time Masters champion and the reigning PGA champion. However, after the Fire Pit Collective’s February publication of an interview conducted last November – in which Mickelson stated he was using a Saudi-backed golf circuit as leverage against the PGA Tour and claimed he had paid lawyers to draw up the league’s operating charter – Mickelson announced he would be taking a leave from the sport.
“The past 10 years I have felt the pressure and stress slowly affecting me at a deeper level,” Mickelson said in a February 22 statement, acknowledging his “reckless” comments. “I know I have not been my best and desperately need some time away to prioritize the ones I love most and work on being the man I want to be.”
His hiatus has included skipping the Players Championship – the PGA Tour’s flagship event held in the tour’s backyard of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida – as well as the WGC–Dell Match Play. His most recent start on tour was at the Farmers Insurance Open, where he missed the cut at Torrey Pines; his last appearance on any circuit was in February at the Saudi International.
Mickelson has made 29 career starts at the Masters, highlighted by victories in 2004, 2006 and 2010. This marks the first time he has not competed in the tournament since 1994. Mickelson also did not attend Tuesday’s Champions Dinner at Augusta National.