DUBLIN, Ohio -- Tournament host Jack Nicklaus said he didn't speak with Phil Mickelson after the latter's controversial early departure from the Memorial Tournament on Thursday, and two days later, that still remains the case.
Nicklaus, appearing at a function Saturday at Muirfield Village to promote a new line of white and red wines bearing his name, said he still wasn't sure exactly why Mickelson left after shooting 79 in the first round.
Mickelson withdrew, citing burnout after playing three straight weeks, with a vacation in Europe mixed in, over the past month. Some have suspected that Mickelson was also upset about the tournament's unwillingness, or inability, to police cellphone camera use by fans.
“I don't know enough about it to comment,” Nicklaus said. “We felt bad that he felt like he had to withdraw. But we look forward to having him back next year.”
The tournament cracked down on cellphone use on Friday. Bubba Watson, who played the first day with Mickelson, estimated that 50 phones were confiscated in the second round Friday, long after Lefty had left town.
Nicklaus insisted that the PGA Tour needs to handle the policing, not the volunteer marshals at weekly events. Fans are allowed to have cameras, a two-year-old policy, but photos are forbidden during live play.
The level of enforcement varies wildly from town to town.
“Either guys have got to get used to it, or the tour needs to change its policy,” Nicklaus said. “What do you want to be, the Gestapo out there, with 30,000 or 40,000 people? I don't know the answer.”
Nicklaus said he was seldom bothers by outside noise during his career, though of course, every fan wasn't armed with a potentially noisy, disruptive cellphone camera then, either.
“I never heard anything,” Nicklaus said. “I had my mind on what I was doing. Have you ever heard me yell about cameras? I monitored it on my own. If a guy was in my line, I asked him to move.”