Phil Mickelson not disinvited from Masters says course chairman

Former Masters champion has not played since controversial comments on Saudi tour

Phil Mickelson is not taking part in this week’s Masters but that was entirely his own decision, says the Augusta National chairman. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Getty Images

Fred Ridley, the chairman of Augusta National, has denied Phil Mickelson was banned by the club from competing in the Masters this week and insisted the former champion's non-appearance in Georgia was entirely the 51-year-old's own decision.

Mickelson has not played since infamous comments relating to his role in a Saudi Arabian-backed breakaway tour emerged in February. The head of the PGA Tour, Jay Monahan, refused to publicly confirm that Mickelson would have been welcome at the Players’ Championship last month.

Augusta’s approach at least appears softer. Asked to respond to speculation about why Mickelson neither attended the champions’ dinner this week nor formed part of the field, Ridley said: “I would like to say we did not disinvite Phil.

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. I thanked him for his courtesy in letting me know.


“Phil has been a real fixture here at the Masters for many, many years. He’s been a big part of our history. We certainly wish him the best working through the issues he’s dealing with right now.”

Ridley was more circumspect on Augusta’s likely stance regarding players who choose to commit to the Saudi plan. The DP World Tour and the PGA Tour have been firm in their resistance to the scheme.

“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,” Ridley said. “I think that golf is 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. The youth that is emerging at a competitive level is just amazing.

“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. I just don’t think I could say much more beyond that.”

- Guardian