Six-time major champion Phil Mickelson – who spectacularly won the 2021 event – has withdrawn from the upcoming PGA Championship
Video not available
Phil Mickelson has withdrawn from the PGA Championship next week to ensure the six-time major champion cannot defend his title, according to tournament organizers.
Mickelson became the oldest Major winner in golf history last year when he won the event – the second major tournament of the year – on Kiawah Island. He has not played since January after taking a hiatus from the sport following his unwise comments on Saudi human rights issues amid the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series.
The fallout meant Mickelson missed the Masters for the first time in 28 years and was disqualified from the annual Champions Dinner in Augusta. Mickelson has not been seen in public since his game at Saudi International on February 6.
He dismissed the country’s human rights record – including the death of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi – as he said he wanted to cash in on the PGA Tour. The six-time major champion called the Saudis a “creepy mom******” and has since apologized for his comments, though he has still made an application to enter a LIV Golf Invitational Series event that is at odds to the PGA Tour.
Mickelson’s agent confirmed he has asked the PGA Tour for a conflicting event clearance to play in the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational series, taking place June 9-11 outside of London.
The Super Golf League, funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, was due to unveil its 14-event schedule and full lineup of dedicated players during the week of the Genesis Invitational in mid-February. However, Mickelson’s comments were made public and sent shockwaves through the sport.
He was heavily criticized for his comments, with several stars – including Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and others – declaring their loyalty to the PGA Tour. But the sheer cash prize on offer will no doubt turn heads.
Total prize money for the eight events – five of which are set to take place in the United States – will be in excess of £200m and the seven regular season tournaments will have total purses of £20m, which would be the richest in professional golf. with £16m in individual prizes and £4m for the top three teams. The top three players after the seven regular season events will also share a £24m bonus.
The end-of-season Team Matchplay Championship is scheduled for October 27-30 at Trump National Doral in Miami. A further £40m in prize money will be made available.
Big names like Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood are among the players who have applied for permission from the PGA Tour to compete in the LIV Golf Invitational Series. Justin Thomas, who confirmed he will remain on the PGA Tour, recently revealed he wants to expedite the transition to avoid as much publicity as possible.
“You know, it’s like, look, if you want to go, go,” Thomas told Sky Sports. “I mean, there were a lot of people who were pushing for it and talking about it all the time, and they were people behind the scenes who were like, ‘I’m going, I’m going to do this.’ And how my whole thing is how just go then
“Everyone has the right to do what they want, know what I mean? If I wanted to play this tour, I could play this tour. But I remain loyal to the PGA Tour.”
World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, who won the Masters last month, will start as one of the pre-tournament favorites. Former US PGA champions Rory McIlroy, Thomas, Brooks Koepka and Collin Morikawa are also in the field.
World No. 3 Jon Rahm, who played alongside Woods in one of his rounds at Augusta, was also heavily backed. The Spaniard is looking for a second Major after winning the US Open in 2021.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/golf/defending-champion-phil-mickelson-withdraws-26962074 Defending champion Phil Mickelson is withdrawing from the PGA Championship due to prolonged absence