Did Mickelson pull out of the Masters or was he pushed?

To make the Phil Mickelson Saudi situation even stranger, it's the fact that he is a current major champion even at the age of 51. So, while he should be revelling in his extraordinary efforts at last year's PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, he will now miss the Masters.

First up he discussed the PGA Tour's 'obnoxious greed', despite having earned almost $95m solely on the course from the tour, then there were the other comments to journalist Alan Shipnuck over the new Saudi league, even admitting to help put together the new tour's operating agreement.

Then, with some of the game's big names speaking out against him, he released a statement saying that he needed some time out to get himself together. The strong suggestion is that the PGA Tour have suspended him though they wouldn't comment on such a stance. What we do know is that Mickelson missed the biggest pay day in the game at The Players and now he will miss Augusta, a course where he has won three times.

A report on Golfweek suggested that 'Augusta National officials either told him or strongly encouraged him not to come. The last thing they want is Mickelson to drive down Magnolia Lane knowing the circus that was coming with him'.

The Masters is of course not run by the PGA Tour, it's an invitational and, for this year at least, Mickelson has been uninvited. One day we'll maybe get the truth on what's gone on, for now we're left to reflect on what is a huge mess.

There are few things better in the game than watching Mickelson plot his way round Augusta, those silky skills from around the greens and all that's gone into all those wins and close shaves, but this year he will be sitting at home. Pure Mickelson, always different.