Piers Morgan has jumped to the defence of Phil Mickelson following the news that the three times Masters winner will miss golf’s first major o the season for the first time in 28 years.
The 51-year-old has been listed as a ‘past champion not playing’ on the tournament website, with the Masters getting under way on April 7.
Mickelson is currently taking a break from golf following the fall-out from his explosive comments about the PGA Tour and a potential Saudi-backed rival circuit.
The six-time major winner has not played since the Saudi International tournament in February. Mickelson has participated at Augusta National every year since last missing out in 1994, having made his Masters debut in 1991, and won the green jacket in 2004, 2006 and 2010.
Mickelson announced he would be taking a break from golf on February 22, in apologising for his ‘reckless’ comments.
The American had accused the PGA Tour of acting like a ‘dictatorship’ and admitted he was using the threat of a breakaway to ‘reshape’ how the Tour operates.
The golfing world had reacted with criticism and dismay to Mickelson’s controversial views, with Rory McIlroy dubbing his initial words ‘egotistical and ignorant’.
Mickelson reiterated his belief that golf ‘desperately needs change’ in his apology statement on Twitter, also saying: ‘I used words I sincerely regret that do not reflect my true feelings or intentions.
‘It was reckless, I offended people, and I am deeply sorry for my choice of words. I’m beyond disappointed and will make every effort to self-reflect and learn from this.’
Morgan, however, believes Mickelson has been harshly treated by the golfing community at large and claims his ‘cancellation’ has produced a needless and unedifying sideshow.
‘Golf’s ongoing cancellation of Phil Mickelson has now forced him out of the Masters,’ he wrote on Twitter.
‘You don’t have to agree with the things he said recently, for which he apologised, to think this is now turning into an unedifying sporting crucifixion. I’ll play with you.’