It was inevitable, but it still registers as a stunner: Lefty won’t be driving up Magnolia Lane this year.
Indeed, for the first time since 1994, there won’t be any hellacious seeds soaring onto the hallowed fairways of Augusta National as Phil Mickelson’s name surfaced among the “past champions not playing” on the list of 2022 invitees revealed Monday.
The embattled legend has been in exile since apologizing for his “reckless comments” to biographer Alan Shipnuck in late February.
The PGA Tour is honoring Mickelson’s pledge to “work on being the man I want to be” in the aftermath of his scandalous pro-splinter tour leverage play. And while a return to the site of so many memorable Lefty moments would have packed an emotional punch, April always felt rather soon for such a reconciliation.
The news casts serious doubt on whether Mickelson, whose primary sponsors all abandoned ship last month, will defend his crown at the PGA Championship in May.
It’s been almost unfathomable to watch all the good vibes that greeted Mickelson’s record-setting win at age 50 dissipate in the span of a year. But this has been an especially precipitous fall from grace.
The Mickelson Masters file
- Mickelson won his first of three green jackets in 2004, breaking through for his first major championship with a dramatic birdie on the 72nd hole and punctuating it with a joyful leap that would be immortalized in logo form. His other two victories came in 2006 and 2010.
- One of eight players to win the Masters at least three times, Mickelson also owns 11 top-5 finishes and 15 top-10s in 30 career starts. He missed the 1994 event while recovering from a broken leg he sustained while skiing.