Phil Mickelson caught lightning in a bottle last year at Kiawah Island, winning a major championship at 50 years of age. The fairways flooded, and the golf world stood and applauded as the beloved lefty hoisted the PGA Championship trophy.
Fast forward a year, and Mickelson is out of golf.
And that won’t change for the PGA Championship.
The PGA of America has announced that the six-time major champion will not be in the field next week at Southern Hills. On May 9th, it was announced Tiger Woods and Mickelson were both listed in the field. As of now, Woods will play.
“We would have welcomed him to participate,” the PGA of America said in a social media release Friday, adding, “We wish Phil and Amy the very best and look forward to his return to golf.”
Mickelson is on a leave of absence from golf; he last played on the PGA Tour at the Farmers Insurance Open in January. The reigning PGA champion, who became the oldest winner of a major at Kiawah last year, has been embroiled in controversy for derogatory comments he made to Golf Digest and Fire Pit Collective about the PGA Tour and its commissioner, Jay Monahan, as well as the repressive Saudi Arabia regime, which is bankrolling a breakaway league led by Greg Norman that will rival the PGA Tour.
Mickelson called out the PGA Tour for its “obnoxious greed,” and said he would use the rival league backed by enormous financial resources as leverage against the PGA Tour despite the country’s long history of human rights abuses.
Since 1960, just four players did not defend their major championship title: Art Wall, 1960 Masters; Payne Stewart, 2000 U.S. Open; Tiger Woods, 2008 PGA Championship; and Rory McIlroy, 2015 Open Championship.
Contributing: Steve DiMeglio