Phil Mickelson’s glaring absence from Tulsa has left the defending USPGA champion defenceless to criticism of his role as chief recruiting agent for the Saudi rebel tour – and Tiger Woods did not miss the open goal yesterday. Mickelson is continuing to lie low after his outspoken criticism of the PGA Tour and Woods revealed yesterday he had made no attempt to persuade him to return.
“Phil has said some things that I think a lot of us who are committed to the Tour have pushed back against and he’s taken some personal time – we all understand that.” said Woods. “He has his opinion on where he sees the game of golf going. I have my viewpoint how I see the game of golf.
“I still think that the Tour has so much to offer, so much opportunity. I understand different viewpoints but I believe in legacies. I believe in Major Championships. I believe in big events, comparisons to historical figures of the past. There’s plenty of money out here but it’s just like any other sport – you have to go out there and earn it. It’s just not guaranteed up front.”
McIlroy took a more empathetic stance on the missing Mickelson. “It’s unfortunate. It’s sad,” he said. “This should be a celebration, right? He won a major championship at 50 years old.
“It was possibly his last big, big moment in the game of golf. I think he should be here this week and celebrating what a monumental achievement he achieved last year.” However McIlroy admitted that his observation three months ago that Greg Norman’s Saudi-backed league was “dead in the water” has turned out to be wishful thinking.
“I might have been a little presumptuous at that point. It seems like it’s still going,” said McIroy. “It’s going to shape the future of professional golf one way or another so I think we’re just going to have to see how it all shakes out.
“I’m rooting for it all to be over. I’m just so sick of talking about it. I’ve made my decision, and I know where I want to play. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t go over there and play if that’s what they feel is right for them, then 100 percent they should go and do it.
“I love being my own boss and I certainly wouldn’t want Greg Norman to be telling me what to do and where to show up and when to be there! I’m happy to do my thing and be my own boss, and that’s a big part of it.”
On his condition, McIlroy added: “I’ve probably put on ten pounds since the Masters. Not all muscle. There’s probably a little bit of excess fat in there too. The diet hasn’t been quite as disciplined as I’ve wanted it to be.
“But I always notice when I do put on a bit of weight that my speed goes up, so that’s something that I guess is an added benefit.”