Phil Mickelson’s absence from competitive golf continues as the defending champion withdraws from next week’s PGA Championship

Phil Mickelson's absence from competitive golf continues as the defending champion withdraws from next week's PGA Championship

PGA Championship Winner Phil Mickelsonwho has not played competitively in more than three months, will not defend his title next week at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The PGA League of America announced Friday that Mickelson has withdrawn from the PGA Championship.

“We have just learned that Phil Mickelson has withdrawn from the PGA Championship,” the statement said. “Phil is the title holder and is currently eligible to be a member of PGA Life and we would welcome him to participate. We hope that Phil and [wife] Amy is the best and we look forward to his return to golf.”

tiger woodMeanwhile, he has remained in the field and is scheduled to meet with the media at Southern Hills on Tuesday. Woods last played in the Masters, when he came back competitively for the first time since his car wreck in February 2021.

Last month, Mickelson, the six-time main champion, topped the Masters, an event he’s won three times, for the first time since 1994.

Mickelson became golf’s oldest major champion by winning the PGA title at Kiawah Island, South Carolina at the age of 50 last year. He has not played on the PGA Tour since he missed the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in late January.

Mickelson is taking some time away from golf after his controversial comments about the PGA Tour and Saudi funders of the breakaway circle published by author Alan Shipnuck, whose unauthorized biography of the golfer known as “Lefty” will be released next week.

Mickelson criticized the PGA Tour for its “greed” and said he was ignoring alleged human rights abuses by the Saudi monarchy to gain influence on the tour.

“They are scary moms to get involved with,” Mickelson told Chipnak during a conversation in November. “were killed [Washington Post reporter and U.S. resident Jamal] Khashoggi has an appalling human rights record. They execute people there for being gay. Knowing all this, why am I even thinking about it? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour works.”

Mickelson later apologized for his comments.

Longtime sponsors Amstel Light, KPMG and Workday have ended their relationships with him. Callaway, who in 2017 signed a contract with Mickelson until the end of his football career, temporarily suspended her relationship with him.

PRO PGA Tour Charlie HoffmanMickelson, who also grew up in San Diego and is one of Mickelson’s closest friends, told ESPN on Wednesday that he would be surprised if Mickelson played for Southern Hills.

“I think mentally Phil is probably in a really good place now, to be honest with you,” Hoffman said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t play. I don’t know if he wanted to deal with him [the media]. He’s done this all his life. I think he has enough respect for the game he’s going to play, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t. I don’t think he wants to deal with it.”

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Mickelson is the fourth golfer in the past 50 years not to attempt to defend his title at a major next year. Rory McIlroy The last time was in 2015, when he missed The Open after injuring his ankle while playing football shortly before the tournament. Woods missed the 2008 PGA Championship, after winning in 2006 and 2007, as he was still recovering from knee surgery. Pine Stewart, the 1999 US Open champion, was killed in a plane crash in October 1999.

Woods, a 15-time major champion, returns to Southern Hills near the 15th anniversary of his third PGA Championship win. The last time he won the event, he was 6 shots behind after the first round, but fired 7-under 63 in the second to equal what was his time lowest single-round result in the men’s championship and course record.

Last month, Woods finished 47th in the Masters, his first official tour in 14 months. He made the cut but shot 6 on 78 in each of the last two rounds, his worst results at Augusta National.

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