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The return of Phil Mickelson is still a lingering story in the golf world, with it still being unclear as to when the six-time Major champion will make a comeback to competitive action.
Now, CEO of the PGA of America, Seth Waugh, has revealed he has had “a number of conversations” with Mickelson, with the American stating on the 5 Clubs Conversation podcast: “I’ve had a number of conversations with him before, you know, call it, last fall and since then and recently.”
Currently, Lefty has entered himself into the PGA Championship, which he is defending, as well as the US Open. Mickelson, though, has also requested a release from the PGA Tour to play in the opening LIV Golf Invitational Series event at the Centurion Club in June, making it unclear as to when he will actually return.
According to Waugh, he believes that Mickelson is "trying to figure out when the right time for him is," adding "I think the game is trying to figure out the right time for him, too. How long is long enough? And is he ready mentally and physically to do it?”
Although Mickelson has registered for the events, it doesn't necessarily mean he will play in them, with Steve Loy at SPORTFIVE agency stating that he is currently keeping "all options open."
The 51-year-old was recently spotted playing golf though, the first sighting of Mickelson since the 2022 Saudi International back in February and his announced break from the game following his controversial comments made about the PGA Tour and the Saudis.
For CEO, Waugh, he believes that “the whole thing (Mickelson incident) is just sad,” adding “It’s sad for Phil, it’s sad for the game. He’s been great for the game for a really long time and I do believe in redemption and I do believe that he can figure this out."
Along with the comments, Waugh also stated on the podcast that he thought Mickelson would make a “late decision” to play in the PGA Championship, with the American going on to add “I think, you know, we’ll continue to have conversations. I’ve known Phil for 20-something years, and he’s a complicated guy with complicated thoughts and in a complicated situation. We’re all trying to figure out what’s best for him and frankly what’s best for the game and we’re going to keep having those conversations.”
That statement was followed by a question from the podcast's host, Gary Williams, in which he asked whether there would be “procedures in place, let’s say, in the event that he does play, as far as him meeting the media.”
.@Garywilliams1Up & @PGA CEO Seth Waugh discussed a lot of topics this week, including if their defending champ, @PhilMickelson, will be at Southern Hills and how to they hope the focus can be on the golf.Watch Full: https://t.co/nhuMxsyPaMListen: https://t.co/XRs88ZRU6u pic.twitter.com/il53cauW1jMay 4, 2022
The response? Well, it certainly left little to the imagination, with Waugh answering: “Yeah, we’ve talked about it a lot and I hope what we can do is have that before, you know, the flag goes up, right. So, the idea is, if he does play, if he’s able to and allowed to, if he will play, he would certainly have to face the media.
"But I hope it’s Monday or Tuesday, and then once the flag goes up, it’s about the golf, right. And that’s — what we’re trying to do is deliver a Major championship, not a circus, right. So I would hope that he can avoid that and everybody can avoid that. And we’re talking about golf shots instead of, you know, verbal gaffes, right, once we get going.
“But there’s certainly, I think, part of his thinking is, am I ready to face that glare and have that conversation and have all the answers that everybody is going to be looking for. And if I do it that week, am I then able to compete at a Major championship venue under that kind of pressure, right, with everything going on. But we would do everything we could to make it happen either before our week or very early in the week.”
Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
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