phil mickelson controversy

Phil Mickelson Drops Out of PGA Championship Due to LIV Golf Controversy

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Phil Mickelson, who won the PGA Championship a year ago and became the oldest player to do so, has withdrawn from next week’s tournament at Southern Hills.

Mickelson, 51, has been embroiled in a controversy over comments he made about the LIV Golf Invitational Series, a Saudi-backed rival golf league led by Greg Norman.

Mickelson has not played since the final round of the Saudi International tournament on February 6.

The PGA of America announced the decision on Twitter, saying that “we would have welcomed him to participate.”

It will be the first time a defending champion has missed a major since Rory McIlroy was forced to withdraw from the 2015 Open at St. Andrews due to an ankle injury sustained while playing soccer.

Tiger Woods was the most recent defending champion to miss the PGA, missing the event in 2008 due to knee surgery that kept him out for nearly nine months. Prior to that, Ben Hogan missed the PGA in 1949 due to a serious car accident in February of that year.

Mickelson has been in self-imposed exile since February when he made disparaging remarks about the PGA Tour while working with the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series.

He later apologized, saying, “I have frequently failed myself and others.” Over the last ten years, I’ve felt pressure and stress gradually affecting me on a deeper level. I know I haven’t been my best, and I desperately need some time away to prioritize the people I care about the most and work on becoming the man I want to be.”

Mickelson was dropped by several sponsors, including KPMG and Workday, as a result of comments he made to Golf Digest and author Alan Shipnuck. Callaway, his long-time club manufacturer, announced a hiatus.

Mickelson would have otherwise returned to the PGA Championship next week at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma, still buzzing from his unlikely victory at Kiawah Island’s The Ocean Course.

By defeating Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen, Mickelson became the game’s oldest major champion at the age of 50, breaking Julius Boros’s 53-year-old record set at the 1968 PGA Championship.

The victory was regarded as a career highlight for Mickelson, who was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2012. It was his sixth major title, joining Lee Trevino and Nick Faldo on that list, and his 45th PGA Tour title, second only to Tiger Woods (82) among active players. Dustin Johnson is currently 24 points behind Mickelson.

Mickelson’s comments about the Tour’s “obnoxious greed” and willingness to join forces with the Saudi-backed golf venture in order to gain leverage with the Tour have caused him a lot of trouble.

In March, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan stated that a conversation with Mickelson would be required before a return, but he declined to say whether Mickelson had been suspended or if he was welcome at the Players Championship.

Mickelson was a no-show for the Masters a few weeks later, the first time he had missed the tournament in Augusta since 1994 when he had to skip due to an injury sustained while skiing. It would have been his 30th Master’s appearance.

During his annual pre-Masters news conference, Masters chairman Fred Ridley stated, “We did not disinvite Phil.” “Phil is a three-time Masters champion who has been invited in that category as well as many others; he is the defending PGA champion.”

phil mickelson
phil mickelson

“Phil contacted me and informed me that he did not intend to play. That was via text message. And I thanked him for his courtesy in informing me. I told him that we appreciated it and that I would be happy to discuss it further with him if he so desired. And he thanked me, and we had a pleasant exchange.”

Seth Waugh, CEO of the PGA of America, stated last week that he had spoken with Mickelson but that no decision had been made at the time. As stated in the organization’s statement on Friday, he, too, suggested that Mickelson was welcome to play.

Last month, Mickelson’s agent, Steve Loy, issued a statement in which he stated that Mickelson had entered the PGA Championship and the US Open, but that this did not guarantee that he would compete in either event. He also stated that Mickelson had requested a release from the PGA Tour in order to compete in the first LIV Golf event outside of London next month.

Monahan denied any PGA Tour member permission to compete in that event this week. A well-known marketing slogan associated with Mickelson now.

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