Phil Mickelson won’t defend his title at the PGA Championship

Phil Mickelson withdrew from the PGA Championship on Friday and chose to extend his stay from golf after exciting comments he made about a Saudi-funded rival league he supports and the PGA Tour he accused of greed.

Mickelson wrote one of the most amazing winners last year when he won the PGA at Kiawah Island, at the age of 50 and became the oldest champion in 161 years of majors.

Now, the popular phrase from a decade ago – “What will Phil do next?” – carries more intrigue than pure suspense.

The PGA of America announced its decision on social media. The PGA Championship begins on Thursday at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Mickelson has not played since February 6 at Saudi International, where he accused the PGA Tour of “disgusting greed” in an interview with Golf Digest.

WGC HSBC Champions - Day three
Phil Mickleson from the USA in action during day three of the WGC HSBC Champions at Sheshan International Golf Club on November 2, 2019 in Shanghai, China.

Zhe Ji / Getty Images


Two weeks later, in an excerpt from Alan Shipnuck’s illegitimate biography to be released next week, Mickelson revealed how he had worked behind the scenes to promote the rival league funded by the Public Investment Fund and run by Greg Norman.

Mickelson dismissed Saudi Arabia’s atrocities against human rights, including the killing of the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, by saying that it was worth it if it meant getting leverage to get the changes he wanted on the PGA Tour.

Mickelson met the deadline to enter the PGA Championship on April 25, although his manager said it was more about keeping his options open. He also participated in the US Open and said he would ask for a conflicting competition to play the LIV Golf Invitational in London, the first of Norman’s $ 20 million tournaments.

The tour said earlier this week that it would not release.

Mickelson is the first major champion not to defend his title since Rory McIlroy at St. Louis. Andrews 2015 due to a knee injury from playing football.

He is only the third PGA Champion to have not defended his title in the last 75 years. Tiger Woods missed in 2008 when he recovered from reconstructive knee surgery, and Ben Hogan could not play in 1949 when he recovered from his car being hit by a bus.

Mickelson’s problems were self-inflicted.

“I personally think it’s an incredible mental challenge to come back and play after what he’s been exposed to,” six-time major and CBS analyst Nick Faldo said on Wednesday. “I do not think it is as easy as just getting on the bike again and coming to a golf tournament and playing. The attention will be monumental.”

Now the focus shifts to whether Mickelson will defy the tour by playing in London in three weeks, or if he were to go to the US Open, the only major he has ever won.

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship - Previews
Phil Mickleson from the USA starts on the 12th hole during the pro-am event before the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club on January 15, 2014 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Matthew Lewis / Getty Images


The last time he played in America was in Torrey Pines on January 28th. He missed the cut.

Shipnuck’s book is scheduled for release on Tuesday. Among the excerpts he has already published on his “Firepit Collective” site included Mickelson, who said he was recruiting players to pay lawyers to sign the operating contract for a new league.

“We know they killed Khashoggi and they have a terrible experience with human rights. They execute people over there for being gay. Since I know all this, why should I even consider it? Because this is a chance to transform once in a while. how the PGA Tour works, “said Mickelson.

He referred to the PGA Tour and Commissioner Jay Monahan as a “dictatorship”.

“I’m not sure I even want it to succeed,” he said of the Saudi league. “But the only idea is that we can get things done with the tour.”

Mickelson quickly lost corporate sponsors such as KPMG and Amstel Light, while Workday said it would not renew the deal with him. Mickelson released a statement in which he described his comment as “careless” and apologized for his choice of words.

Mickelson said in his statement that he has felt pressure and stress that has affected him on a deeper level over the past 10 years and that he needs time away.

But he did not say whether he would take a break from golf. He has not played since Saudi International on February 6. He’s not playing this week. His statement concluded: “I know I have not been my best and desperately need some time away to prioritize those I love the most and work on being the man I want to be.”

“I know I have not been my best and desperately need some time away to prioritize those I love the most and work on being the man I want to be,” he said in February.

Mickelson was replaced in the field by former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel.

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