Phil Mickelson withdraws from PGA Championship, won’t defend title
Golf star Phil Mickelson has withdrawn from the PGA Championship set to be held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, next week.
PGA of America made the announcement Friday, noting that the defending champion will be welcomed back when he decides to return to the game from a sabbatical. At 50, Mickelson became the oldest player to win a major with his PGA Championship victory last year.
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“We have just been informed that Phil Mickelson has withdrawn from the PGA Championship.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,” PGA of America said in a tweet. “We wish Phil and (his wife) Amy the very best and look forward to his return to golf.”
Mickelson’s absence from the championship will mark the first time a reigning champion did not return the following year to defend his title since 2008. Tiger Woods, who held the title for two consecutive years in 2006 and 2007, was not able to try for a third due to an injury. Woods will compete this year, however.
Mickelson, now 51, missed the Masters Tournament in April for the first time in nearly 30 years and will also miss the LIV Golf series in London and the U.S. Open in Massachusetts next month, his agent said, according to Golf Digest.
The PGA champion, ranked No. 58 in the world, stirred controversy with comments he made in January when he acknowledged that Saudi Arabia had a history of violating human rights. However, he refused to withdraw from a Saudi-backed tour because he said it was a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” according to the New York Times.
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Mickelson apologized in February and announced he was taking a sabbatical to focus on and prioritize his family.
“The past 10 years I have felt the pressure and stress slowly affecting me at a deeper level,” Mickelson tweeted. “I know I have not been my best and desperately need some time away to prioritize the ones I love most and work on being the man I want to be.”