'We Did Not Disinvite Phil' - Augusta Chairman Fred Ridley On Mickelson

Ridley disputes claims that the three-time Masters winner was told not to play at this year's event

Phil Mickelson at the 2022 PIF Saudi International
(Image credit: Getty Images)

One of the biggest talking points in the build-up to The Masters had been whether the three-time Green Jacket winner would compete in this year’s tournament.

Lefty has been on a self-imposed break from the game since releasing a statement in February apologising for inflammatory comments he made about both the PGA Tour and the upcoming LIV Golf Invitational Series. Mickelson has attended every Masters since 1994 – until now. News broke he would be absent from the first Masters in 28 years last month, when his name appeared in a “Past Champions not playing” list on the tournament’s official website. Then, several sources reported to Golfweek that Mickelson was “either told or strongly encouraged not to come.”

That claim has been disputed by Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley. Speaking on the eve of the tournament, Ridley said: “Well, first, I would like to say we did not disinvite Phil. Phil is a three-time Masters Champion and is invited in that category and many other categories. He's the defending PGA Champion. 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. And I thanked him for his courtesy in letting me know. I told him that we certainly appreciated that and, you know, told him that I was certainly willing to discuss that further with him if he'd like, and he thanked me, and we had a very cordial exchange.”

Mickelson retains some support among figures in the game, who are eager for his return to competitive action. In February, Daniel Berger said Mickelson “deserves a second chance,” while the month after, Rory McIlroy said the 51-year-old “deserves forgiveness.” However, it is still unclear when Mickelson will launch a comeback. He won the PGA Championship in 2021, so, for now, the opportunity to defend his title next month seems the most likely. 

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Mike Hall
Mike Hall

Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.