Defending champion Phil Mickelson withdraws from US PGA Championship
Phil Mickelson will not defend his title in next week’s US PGA Championship at Southern Hills, tournament organisers have announced.
Mickelson has been taking a break from golf since the fall-out from his explosive comments about the PGA Tour and the Saudi-backed breakaway spearheaded by Greg Norman.
The six-time major winner officially registered for the US PGA and next month’s US Open on April 25 and also requested a release from the PGA Tour to play the first LIV Golf Invitational Series event from June 9-11, a request which was denied earlier this week.
His agent said at the time that Mickelson was simply keeping his options open and did not have “concrete plans” about his return to action.
In a post on Twitter on Friday evening, the PGA of America wrote: “We have just been informed that Phil Mickelson has withdrawn from the PGA Championship.
“Phil is the defending champion and currently eligible to be a PGA Life Member and we would have welcomed him to participate. We wish Phil and Amy (his wife) the very best and look forward to his return to golf.”
Mickelson’s victory at Kiawah Island last year made him the oldest ever winner of a men’s major championship, his two-shot win over Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen coming just a month before his 51st birthday.
The left-hander has not played since February’s Saudi International, shortly after which his comments about the PGA Tour and the Saudi-backed events were made public.
In an interview with the author of a forthcoming biography, Mickelson admitted he was well aware of Saudi Arabia’s “horrible record on human rights”, including the murder of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi, but was using the threat of a breakaway to “reshape” how the Tour operates.
Norman said the full league of 14 events had been ready to launch in mid-February until Mickelson’s comments cost him several sponsors and resulted in some players backing out.
LIV Golf, of which two-time Open champion Norman is the CEO, have instead set up eight 48-man events in 2022, each with a prize fund of GBP 20.2million, with the first to be staged at Centurion Club in Hertfordshire from June 9-11.
The plan is to stage 10 events in 2023 and the full 14 from 2024, with Norman insisting he is looking “decades” into the future.
Mickelson apologised for his reckless comments and said: “I have made a lot of mistakes in my life and many have been shared with the public. My intent was never to hurt anyone and I’m so sorry to the people I have negatively impacted.
“I have experienced many successful and rewarding moments that I will always cherish, but I have often failed myself and others too. The past 10 years I have felt the pressure and stress slowly affecting me at a deeper level.
“I know I have not been my best and desperately need some time away to prioritise the ones I love most and work on being the man I want to be.”
‘Is this where I am going to die?’ Nicolas Colsaerts on kidney disorder battle
The Belgian is the focus of attention this week as he belatedly defends the Cazoo Open de France title he won three years ago.
On this day in 2008: Ryder Cup misery in Louisville for Nick Faldo’s Europe team
Faldo was heavily criticised for his tactics in the closing singles.
Open champion Cameron Smith wins first LIV trophy in just second start
The world number two is the highest-ranked player to join the rebel series.
Robert MacIntyre beats Matt Fitzpatrick in play-off to win Italian Open
MacIntyre birdied the first extra hole at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, the venue for next year’s Ryder Cup.
Matt Fitzpatrick holds narrow lead ahead of final round at Italian Open
Rory McIlroy and Aaron Rai are one shot off the pace.
Rory McIlroy picks up the pace to claim lead ahead of Matt Fitzpatrick in Rome
McIlroy’s group looked unlikely to complete their second rounds after taking three hours to play nine holes.
Matt Fitzpatrick leads way at Italian Open despite ‘inconsistent’ display
The US Open champion held a one-shot lead over fellow Englishman Tom Lewis,
Rory McIlroy rues a late night until eagle gets him flying in Italian Open
The four-time major winner was only a shot behind leader Matt Fitzpatrick after the first round of the Rome event.
Rory McIlroy begins Italian Open with superb 67 after recovering from slow start
He kick-started his round by holing out from 115 yards for an eagle on the par-four third.
Shane Lowry: Golf risks alienating fans with disgusting amount of money involved
The BMW PGA Championship winner insists he was never tempted to join LIV Golf.