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The most conspicuous absence at The Masters this year is Phil Mickelson. After an embarrassing, public dalliance with a Saudi Arabian Super League, the three-time Masters champ (and one of the most famous golfers in the world) is nowhere near Augusta, Georgia. Whether this was Lefty’s choice or a shadow suspension by the PGA, the fact is, Mickelson isn’t at the first major of the year, and even his buddy from The Match, Bryson DeChambeau is in the dark as to why.

Phil Mickelson is persona non grata in the golf world right now

Golf fans will be intimately familiar with the recent scandal involving Phil Mickelson, but the short version is this. The six-time major winner became a driving force trying to get PGA golfers to join a new Saudi Golf League.

In defense of his mission to get golfers to join a lucrative new league backed by the (at best) ethically questionable Saudi government, he spoke — on the record — to golf journalist Alan Shipnuck. During this conversation, Mickelson told the man writing an unauthorized biography with him as the subject that, while the Saudis are “scary mother****** to get involved with,” it is worth it to make more money. 

This didn’t go over well with basically anyone. 

Sponsors dropped the golfer, fellow PGA pros like Rory McIlroy crushed him, and there is speculation the Tour is secretly punishing him in some way for his actions and words. 

The end result is that Mickelson isn’t playing in The Masters for the first time since 1994, and even his closest friends in the golf world haven’t heard exactly why from the usually communicative Mickelson. 

 Bryson DeChambeau hasn’t heard back after reaching out to Mickelson recently 

Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson chat as they walk down the 7th fairway at The Open
Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson | Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Last July, Bryson DeChambeau teamed up with Aaron Rodgers to play Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in the made-for-TV golf round known as The Match.

DeChambeau and Mickelson now seem to be close friends, and, as such, DeChambeau was one of the golfers rumored to be ready to jump to the Saudi Golf League if Mickelson and the Middle Eastern backers could make it come to fruition.

He’s also a PGA golfer that reporters now ask about Mickelson as he spends time in (self-imposed?) exile.

During a practice round for The Masters on the Sunday before the tournament, reporters asked DeChambeau to learn more about what’s going on with Lefty.

According to ESPN, “DeChambeau admitted he has tried in recent weeks to connect and has heard nothing back.” He told reporters when asked about Mickelson, “I’ve tried to reach out, but he’s gone dark. There’s no contact.”

The fact that the embattled golfer is ghosting his friends on tour is fascinating. It also means we probably won’t know what’s next for Mickelson for another month or so. The next major that fans and pundits expect the golfer to play in is The PGA Championship the week of May 16-22 at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  

DeChambeau might wish he wasn’t at The Masters either after Round 1

While Phil Mickelson isn’t playing in the 2022 Masters, Bryson DeChambeau is. However, the 2020 U.S. Open winner might wish he stayed at home too after Thursday’s round.

DeChambeau struggled mightily in his opening Major round this season.

The California native started well in Augusta, birdieing No. 3 before giving that stroke right back with a bogie on the next hole. DeChambeau played par golf for the remainder of the front nine before the wheels fell off on the back.

The mad scientist of golf put up a bogie on 10, a double 14, and a bogie on 15. He showed a flash of recovery by making a birdie on the par-3 16th but ended with one more bogie on 18. All told, DeChambeau ended the day with a +4 76, good for T-70 in the field.

While DeChambeau is undoubtedly disappointed by this round, it’s not unusual for the big-hitting duffer. He also started with a 76 last year before posting a 67 to make the cut on Day 2. After that, he ended the 2021 tournament with back-to-back 75s.

DeChambeau is also playing injured. The Dallas resident is recovering from a “hairline fracture of the hamate bone in his left hand and a minor labrum tear in his left hip, per ESPN. DeChambeau told the outlet he’s currently operating at 80% of full strength.

DeChambeau gets back at it on Friday at 1 pm ET with Cameron Smith and Paul Casey.

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