Phil Mickelson retires from Augusta National, Tiger Woods, PGA Tour, Saudi Arabia-backed Tour, video, highlights

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Six-time major champion Phil Mickelson will not play at next month’s Masters and will miss the Augusta National Showdown for the first time since 1994, according to a field update posted to the tournament’s website on Monday.

Mickelson’s status has been in question since he criticized the US PGA Tour in comments revealed last month that he supported a Saudi-backed rival and later apologized and said he needed a break from the Gulf.

In a list of invitees to the 86th Masters, taking place April 7-10 at the famed Georgia golf course, 2021 PGA Championship winner Mickelson was among golfers listed as Past Champions Not Playing.

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Phil Mickelson (R) and Tiger Woods will miss the Masters. Photo: APSource: AP

The list generally includes senior statesmen in the sport who have claimed the green jacket, including Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Nick Faldo.

That list didn’t include Tiger Woods, however, who is recovering from serious leg injuries he sustained in a car crash 13 months ago.

The big question surrounding Mickelson now is whether the 51-year-old American left-hander will defend his title at the PGA Championship, which is being held at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma in May.

After alienating US PGA Tour leaders and Upstart Tour organizers, Mickelson said last month he was taking time off from the sport.

“Over the past 10 years, I’ve felt the pressure and stress slowly affecting me on a deeper level,” Mickelson said in a statement.

“I know I haven’t done my best and I desperately need some time to prioritize those I love the most and work on being the man I want to be.”

It is unknown if Phil Mickelson will defend the Wanamaker Trophy after taking time off from golf. Photo: Getty ImagesSource: AFP

Mickelson has not played since last month’s Saudi International and most recently played at a US PGA event in Torrey Pines in January, both before controversy erupted over the rival tour.

Mickelson, a three-time Masters champion, has appeared to have helped support organizers of a Saudi Arabia-backed tour that strives to have top PGA talent at its events.

Author Alan Shipnuck published excerpts from a forthcoming book about Mickelson, in which the US star called the Saudis “scary” with a “horrible human rights record”.

Mickelson said he was willing to work with the Saudis to influence and force change on the US PGA Tour, calling it “a golden opportunity to reshape the way the PGA Tour works.”

“They could get by with manipulative, coercive and strong tactics because we, the players, had no option.”

He later apologized for the comments and said he’ll “reflect for myself and learn from it,” but PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan said earlier this month he hadn’t spoken to Mickelson about tour comeback plans.

“If he’s ready to return to the PGA Tour, we’ll have that conversation,” Monahan said.

“It’s a conversation I’m looking forward to.”

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Mickelson became the oldest major winner in history last May when he won the PGA at the age of 50 on Kiawah Island.

He also won the 2004, 2006 and 2010 Masters, the 2005 PGA and the 2013 British Open and is a six-time runner-up at the US Open.

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