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via Reuters

via Reuters

By this time, the dust was supposed to have settled on the PGA Tour LIV Golf battle. The two sides agreed to bury the hatchet. Neither PIF nor the PGA Tour would have wanted it to be a trending narrative during the Masters. Yet, that’s exactly how this is going and it just got worse, embroiling Phil Mickelson in the mix. 

Augusta National released the pre-tournament interview schedule. Among the former champions, Lefty’s name was a glaring miss. Needless to say, fans weren’t pleased and let out their frustration at the decision.

No Lefty in the Masters presser; Woods gets 1.30 hours?

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Augusta National released its press conference schedule ahead of the Masters. 14 players were included in the three-day schedule – five on Monday, including past Masters champion, Hideki Matsuyama, and 10 on Tuesday, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, and the defending champion, Jon Rahm. On Wednesday Fred Ridley will be the sole golfer speaking to the press. 

Woods getting a 90-minute window didn’t sit well with fans. However, there is a possibility that there will be a break post-Woods as it might be the case with Rahm’s media address. Here is the full schedule.

Monday

  • 2 p.m.: Brian Harman
  • 2:30 p.m.: Jasper Stubbs, Santiago de la Fuente
  • 3 p.m.: Hideki Matsuyama
  • 3:30 p.m.: Xander Schauffele

Tuesday

  • 9:30 a.m.: Viktor Hovland
  • 10 a.m.: Jon Rahm
  • 11 a.m.: Tiger Woods
  • 12:30 p.m.: Rory McIlroy
  • 1 p.m.: Ludvig Åberg
  • 1:30 p.m.: Wyndham Clark
  • 2:30 p.m.: Jordan Spieth
  • 3 p.m.: Scottie Scheffler
  • 3:30 p.m.: Brooks Koepka

Wednesday

  • 11 a.m.: Fred Ridley, Augusta National GC chairman

Many big names are missing from the list, including former champions and Mickelson’s LIV Golf teammates, Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Sergio Garcia, and others. However, Mickelson’s exclusion has caught the most attention, as Lefty was the joint runner-up last year. 

Notably, last year, too, Phil Mickelson was not included in the pre-tournament press conference. The three-time Masters champion, a self-admitted divisive figure, hasn’t commented on the matter. Rather, the 45-time PGA Tour winner is more focused on the Masters prep at Trump Doral. His fans, however, didn’t tolerate the cold shoulder given to one of the most successful players in the Masters’ history. 

Phil Mickelson fans take matters into their own hands

In addition to his runner-up finish last year, Mickelson has 15 top-10s from his 30 appearances. He finished outside the top-25 only on nine occasions. Notably, Mickelson is also the most successful lefty at Augusta. Quite naturally, fans didn’t take the snub very kindly. A fan termed it an absolute disgrace” when Dan Rapaport shared the schedule on his X (formerly Twitter) handle. 

Two first-timers, Ludvig Aberg and Wyndham Clark, will sit for the press conference on Tuesday. The rationale behind offering the Swede a spot ahead of Mickelson was lost on many. A fan venting their frustration pointed out, Oh yeah cause I totally wanna hear ludvig instead of the greatest left-handed golfer to ever walk to earth who finished 2nd last year nbd.

Now, many LIV golfers not receiving a major spot is already a thorny issue, especially, after Talor Gooch’s controversial asterisk remark. The fact that, with Jon Rahm’s inclusion, LIV Golf has two of the last year’s four major champions, has emboldened many. At the same time, they are also disappointed that Majors haven’t created a direct pathway for other ‘deserving’ LIV Golfers to enter the field.

So, many read the decision as politically motivated. So @PhilMickelson finished T2 at last years Masters and is a multi time winner of this event…but isn’t included in this schedule? Time for the Majors to put politics aside and give the fans what they want!”, one user pointed out. Mickelson being in the midst of controversy at the Masters isn’t new.

Last year, Mickelson was also left out of the pre-tournament press conference schedule. But later it emerged that Mickelson was offered the opportunity to speak in front of the media at Augusta National, but declined the invitation according to Golf Channel’s Rich Lerner. In 2022, Mickelson sat out the tournament due to a self-imposed hiatus after he apologized for controversial comments he made about the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia.

His absence from the press conference left a fan furious as they commented, No Phil.. this is a joke.” Notably, there were no reasons given for excluding any of the players. The presser did miss many bigwigs from the Tour as well, like Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay, and Will Zalatoris.

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But some still questioned if Woods was pulling the strings. Apparently, the 15-time Major champion was behind Phil Mickelson’s Open Championship dinner snub a few years back. Taking a reference to that, some took a slight jab at Woods.

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The Phil Mickelson snub has added more spice to the already peppery Masters. If the six-time Major winner pulls off another surprise like last year, the noise from LIV Golf fans will only grow louder. Mickelson only has a lone top-10 at LIV Golf this year. But last year, Mickelson was hugely underwhelming at the breakaway side but still netted a T2 at Augusta.

Read More: What Is the Phil Mickelson Villa at Trump National Doral Miami? Price, Features, and Other Info Explored

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