Phil Mickelson has ‘gone dark’ since controversy

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

AUGUSTA — Little has been heard from Phil Mickelson since he stepped away from golf in February following comments, and extensive criticism, regarding Saudi Arabia’s regime and the nation’s proposed golf league. Mickelson, a three-time Masters champion, will miss the tournament for the first time since 1994.

Bryson DeChambeau, considered to be a good friend of Mickelson, was asked Monday whether he had heard from him since the controversy.

“I have tried to reach out, but there has been nothing,” DeChambeau said. “He’s gone dark.”

More length

Augusta National Golf Club keeps getting longer.

For the 2022 Masters, holes No. 11 and No. 15 have added length.

The par-4 11th went from 505 to 520 yards. In addition, a number of trees were removed from the right side of the fairway and with them went a significant amount of pine straw. No. 11 is the second-hardest hole in the history of the Masters, behind only No. 10. It plays to a 4.30 cumulative stroke average (from 1942 to 2021).

The par-5 15th went from 530 to 550 yards. It is the second-easiest hole at the Masters, with a cumulative stroke average of 4.77.

“I think 11 looks amazing,” Adam Scott said Monday. “I think it’s a great change. The look of the fairway looks great, but the big play difference, in my opinion, is missing the green right has gotten a lot worse now. So that’s going to be an interesting one. That’s a very, very demanding second shot, which I think is super around that stretch of the course.

“Fifteen’s just a little longer. We’re used to that. Everywhere we go, it gets a little longer. But, overall, I think it’s playing great.”

Don’t count out Tiger

While Tiger Woods is making his way around Augusta National to determine if he can play the Masters this week, some of his fellow competitors think he has a real chance to contend for a sixth green jacket.

Woods nearly lost his right leg in a car accident last year. Yet, 14 months later, he is walking the grounds of Augusta National.

“You never put it past him, and I don’t want to give him a chip because obviously he doesn’t need it,” Billy Horschel said. “But it’s tough. It’s tough. I mean, I don’t know – obviously I know the way he would grind and practice and everything, but with the back and with the leg, I’m sure he’s not able to do the old Tiger thing. Even before the leg when he was coming back from the back, there was a ball count and a time limit on how much he could practice.

“Listen, when those juices get flowing and that adrenaline gets going and the focus sort of kicks in, strange things happen. … Listen, Bernhard Langer has been contending, played here the last several years and played really well and sort of contended, so I don’t put it past him. He hasn’t lost any length, and I think that’s a big key. The speed, it still looked like he had a lot of speed in his swing, so that’s a big key. So I mean, it’s – it would be great to see him contend because I think that would be even more excitement, and the atmosphere around this course would be buzzing a little bit more.”

The man with the mullet

Win the Masters and maybe Cameron Smith’s mother will come around to his haircut.

The golfer with the signature mullet won The Players Championship earlier this year. He now attempts to become the first golfer, other than Woods, to win The Players Championship and the Masters in the same year.

What does the Aussie’s mother – or mum – think of his hairstyle?

“I think she’s coming around to it, slightly,” Smith said Monday.

Smith was also asked Monday if other players have asked for haircut advice.

“No, none of that, either,” he said. “I don’t know if anyone else wants to rock it, to be honest.”

Who really cares when you are the No. 6-ranked golfer in the world? And one with two wins and four top-10 finishes in seven PGA starts this year?