Mickelson’s absence from previous champions’ occasions at St Andrews was one of many predominant speaking factors within the build-up to the one hundred and fiftieth version of the championship this week.
The 2013 winner insisted he was invited to the celebratory dinner and four-hole exhibition match however, having develop into one of many faces of the controversial Saudi-backed rival LIV collection, declined to keep away from turning into a distraction.
Phil Mickelson advised a journalist to “let it go” in frustration at being requested LIV Golf-related questions after his opening spherical on the Open.
This differs from the stance taken with LIV figurehead Greg Norman, the Open champion in 1986 and 1993, with organisers the R&A making abundantly clear the Australian had not been invited.
“The R&A contacted me a pair weeks earlier than and stated, ‘Look, we don’t assume it’s an important thought you go, however if you wish to, you’ll be able to’,” Mickelson advised reporters after starting his newest Open problem with a level-par 72.
“I simply didn’t need to make an enormous deal about it, so I stated, ‘wonderful’. We each form of agreed that it could be greatest if I didn’t.”
Requested if he was unhappy to be in such a place, the 52-year-old stated: “No, no. By no means. I feel that I couldn’t be extra excited and ecstatic with the place I’m at.
“I like the occasions. I get to have golf in my life and aggressive golf in my life on a scale that’s enjoyable, thrilling, completely different, and lets me play and compete however nonetheless do the issues exterior that I need to do.”
Pushed additional on lacking the dinner, which was attended by the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Sir Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods, Mickelson snapped: “Let it go, dude. Let it go. That’s thrice you’ve requested the identical query.
“I don’t know what to inform you. I couldn’t be happier.”
Mickelson insisted he had no regrets about signing up for the big-money LIV circuit, which has sparked an enormous row within the recreation and led to him being banned from the PGA Tour.
The American stated: “I made the best choice for me and I’m enthusiastic about having the chance to play aggressive golf and have it in my life in a extra reasonable scale to the place I can do some issues exterior of that too. I freed up lots of different time as properly.
“I couldn’t be happier. I feel it’s been actually good. I can’t wait to get to New Jersey and play one other occasion there.”
Woods this week criticised LIV gamers for having “turned their again on what allowed them to get to this place”. He additionally denounced the 54-hole format of LIV tournaments.
Mickelson stated: “I definitely respect his opinion. I’ve lots of respect for him. I feel all people’s going to have robust feelings and opinions about it, and I definitely respect his.”