While the golf world has gone all-in on wondering whether or not Tiger Woods will actually play in the 2022 Masters Tournament, there has also been a noticeable absence as well. Three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson is not playing in the tournament this year and many have wondered if that was by choice or if he was told to stay away.

The 51-year-old has been on a leave from the PGA since controversial comments about why he and other PGA golfers should leave the organization to join a Saudi-backed league. Some particularly tasteless comments painted him as greedy and self-serving and were met with criticism from the public and fellow golfers alike. Phil has since apologized for prior statements, but in his apology, Mickelson maintained that “golf desperately needs change, and real change is always preceded by disruption.”

It was confirmed in March that Lefty would not participate in The Masters as he continued his leave of absence. Still, there was speculation that the tournament had disinvited him or told him to stay away.

However, on Tuesday, Masters chairman Fred Ridley cleared the air on what happened, saying that Phil was the one who decided not to play.

“We did not disinvite Phil,” Ridley said. “Phil reached out to me and let me know that he did not intend to play. That was by way of a text. I thanked him for his courtesy.”

It remains unclear when Mickelson will return to PGA action.

[Jason Sobel]

About Sean Keeley

Sean Keeley is the creator of the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and author of 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and many other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.