Sunday May 29, 2022

Reigning champ Mickelson withdraws from PGA C’ship

May 15, 2022

WASHINGTON: Reigning champion Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t played since the release of controversial comments about the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series, has withdrawn from the PGA Championship, the PGA of America announced Friday.

The 51-year-old American left-hander became the oldest major winner in golf history last year when he won the PGA at Kiawah Island for his sixth career major title.

But he has not played since January after his remarks to author Alan Shipnuck supporting the Saudi-backed rival to the US PGA Tour went public in February.

Mickelson, a 45-time US PGA Tour winner, did not play in last month’s Masters for the first time since 1994 and is missing the PGA Championship for the first time since he made his debut in 1993.

It’s the first year Mickelson has missed two majors since 1993, when he didn’t play the US or British Opens.

Had Mickelson played at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he would have faced questions over his role with a Saudi group he called “scary” with a “horrible record on human rights”.

Mickelson admitted being willing to overlook issues such as the murder of US journalist Jamal Khashoggi to gain leverage over the US PGA Tour.