Phil Mickelson was not “disinvited” from the 86th Masters, according to tournament chairman Fred Ridley.
Ickelson is taking a break from golf after his explosive comments about the PGA Tour and a Saudi-backed rival circuit were detrimental. The six-time Major winner accused the former of “insufferable greed” and behaving like a “dictatorship”.
The 51-year-old also admitted he was aware of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record but used the threat of a runaway to “reshape” the way the tour worked.
It has been suggested that Mickelson was either suspended from the PGA Tour or encouraged by Masters officials not to attend Augusta National this week, but Ridley said the latter was certainly not the case.
“We didn’t disinvite Phil,” Ridley said in his annual pre-tournament press conference.
“He’s a three-time Masters champion and gets 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 had no intention of playing. That was via text.
“I thanked him for his courtesy in letting me know and told him I would be willing to discuss this further if he wished and we had a very cordial exchange.
“He made a personal choice and beyond that I don’t know. Phil has been a fixture here for many, many years and a huge part of our history and we certainly wish him the best in solving the problems he is facing now.”
Ridley declined to be advised if players who have competed in events on the rival tour – recently dubbed the LIV Golf Invitational Series – would not subsequently be invited to the Masters.
“I would like to start by saying that our mission is to always act in the best interests of the game, in whatever form,” he added.
“I think golf is in a good place at the moment. There’s more involvement. The purses on the professional tours are the highest they’ve ever had. Clubs and golf courses are in a healthy financial position in my opinion.
“We were pretty sure the world tours had done a great job of promoting the game over the years. Beyond that, there’s so much that we don’t know that could or could happen that I just don’t know.” I don’t think I could say much more than that.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/golf/us-masters/we-did-not-disinvite-phil-masters-chairman-fred-ridley-says-mickelson-was-welcome-to-play-at-augusta-41527658.html ‘We didn’t disinvite Phil’ – Masters chairman Fred Ridley says Mickelson is welcome to play at Augusta