Phil Mickelson won’t play in Masters next month; when might he return to golf?

If ever there was a place where Phil Mickelson could play and be insulated from the events of the last two months in his suddenly wobbly career, it should be Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters.

A three-time winner of the green jacket, Mickelson is as much a part of the Masters as any active player short of Tiger Woods, and the Masters is a far more controlled environment than other events.

But after comments by Mickelson about the rival Saudi Arabian-backed golf league came out in February, and after Mickelson issued an apology a few days later that still talked about his desire to change the PGA Tour, Mickelson has suffered a bad two months.

His association with The American Express event in La Quinta ended, and he has skipped tournaments he would normally play like Pebble Beach and Los Angeles on the West Coast, The Players Championship and perhaps the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida. And it is possible the folks at Augusta National are breathing a sigh of relief that Mickelson won’t be a distraction at their event.

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Mickelson’s name was moved from the list of players expected to compete in the Masters to a section at the bottom titled, “past champions not playing.” The club confirmed that Mickelson has notified Augusta National he will not be playing. The Masters is April 7-10.

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