Phil Mickelson will not participate in this year's Masters Tournament, but it is not because he wasn't invited.
Augusta National Golf Club chairman Fred Ridley told reporters Wednesday that he offered Mickelson an invitation that Lefty turned down via text message:
"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 ... 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. He thanked me, and we had a very cordial exchange."
Mickelson has been in the public spotlight since he made comments to author Alan Shipnuck about a potential breakaway league being funded by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund.
ESPN's Mark Schlabach shared those comments from the upcoming book, Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar:
"They're scary motherf---ers to get involved with.
"... They killed [Washington Post reporter and U.S. resident Jamal] Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights. They execute people over there for being gay. Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates."
Mickelson received plenty of criticism and lost sponsors before releasing a statement that said, in part, "It was reckless, I offended people, and I am deeply sorry for my choice of words."
He has been away from the game at a professional level since and last played at the Farmers Insurance Open in January. He notably did not participate in the Players Championship and the WGC-Dell Match Play.
Some of Mickelson's greatest triumphs have come at Augusta National as a three-time champion (2004, 2006 and 2010) who has made 29 career starts at the Masters.