Phil Mickelson Spotted Ahead Of Potential Return

After being away from the public eye, the six-time Major winner was spotted at Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club

Mickelson hits a drive
(Image credit: Twitter: @firepitstories)

Phil Mickelson has arguably been one of the most talked about individuals in the golf world throughout 2022. Now, at the end of April, the six-time Major champion has been spotted on the golf course for the first time since the Saudi International. 

Since February, the 51-year-old has been taking a hiatus away from the game, following his controversial comments regarding the PGA Tour and the newly announced LIV Golf Invitational Series (opens in new tab).

However, for the first time in two months, Lefty was spotted playing at Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club in California, with Mickelson wearing a black cap and polo shirt, as well as a pair of grey shorts and sunglasses. 

The video, which was posted by Fire Pit Collective, has the caption: "Rumours of Phil Mickelson’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. He had plenty of speed yesterday at Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club."

See more

Despite the break, it doesn't seem like Mickelson has lost much of his power, with the 51-year-old blasting his drive off of the tee whilst surrounded by, we assume, his friends.

The sighting comes just a day or two after it was revealed in a report by The Telegraph (opens in new tab), that Mickelson has signed an agreement to play in all eight of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series events. (opens in new tab)

Since the six-time Major winner has requested permission to take part in the new Series, which begins at the Centurion Club in June, it is now likely that he will not defend his PGA Championship in May (opens in new tab), which he won in historic fashion at Kiawah Island.

Mickelson hits a drive

Mickelson's last competitive appearance came at the 2022 Saudi International in February

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The news just adds to the ongoing saga which has seen Mickelson show negativity to both the PGA Tour and LIV Golf Invitational Series (opens in new tab). Specifically, how it is backed by a Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund.

In February, Mickelson called out the PGA Tour and its stance on media rights (opens in new tab), with the 51-year-old stating: "The players don’t have access to their own media. If the tour wanted to end any threat [from Saudi or anywhere else], they could just hand back the media rights to the players."

He went on to add: "They also have access to my shots, access I do not have. They also charge companies to use shots I have hit. When I did ‘The Match’—there have been five of them—the tour forced me to pay them $1 million each time. For my own media rights. That type of greed is, to me, beyond obnoxious.”

Not long after his comments on the PGA Tour, Mickelson was soon admitting that his alliance with the rumoured Series is just a ruse to “leverage” the Tour (opens in new tab).

In an excerpt from Alan Shipnuck’s book (opens in new tab), titled ‘Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar’, the six-time major winner made it clear he thinks it's merely an attempt to “sportswash” Saudi Arabia's reputation, claiming that: "They’re scary motherf*****s to get involved with." (opens in new tab)

Centurion Golf club

The first LIV Golf Invitational Series event will be held at Centurion Club on the 9th - 11th June

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The comments soon led to Mickelson releasing a statement apologising for his actions (opens in new tab), with Lefty going on to take a significant break from the game. 

During that time, he lost multiple sponsors like KPMG, Workday, Heineken/Amstel, as well as the being removed as the host of The American Express. (opens in new tab)

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.