'Wow': Golf world in shock after 'sad' Phil Mickelson development

·5-min read
Pictured here, Phil Mickelson holds the US PGA Championship trophy aloft after winning the title in 2021.
Phil Mickelson will not be defending the US PGA Championship title he won in 2021. Pic: Getty

US PGA Championship organisers have dropped a bombshell on the golfing world after announcing that Phil Mickelson won't be defending his title this year.

Mickelson made history at the tournament last year after becoming the oldest men's major winner of all time.

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The historic victory at Kiawah Island - a two-shot win over Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen - came just a month before Micklson's 51st birthday.

However, the American's participation at this year's event has ben under a cloud after he took an indefinite break from the game, following explosive comments he made about the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series, headed up by Aussie legend 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 Mickelson was simply keeping his options open and did not have "concrete plans" about his return to action.

However, in a Twitter post on Friday evening, the PGA of America wrote: "We have just been informed that Phil Mickelson has withdrawn from the PGA Championship.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."

The stunning development has divided the golf world, with many fans still angry about his controversial comments about the Saudi-backed rebel competition.

Phil Mickelson on a break after Saudi remarks

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.

Greg Norman admitted that Phil Mickelson's comments about Saudi Arabia were detrimental to the rebel competition. Pic: Getty
Greg Norman admitted that Phil Mickelson's comments about Saudi Arabia were detrimental to the rebel competition. Pic: Getty

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 $A30 million, 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 then.

"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."

with AAP

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