Phil Mickelson withdrew from the PGA Championship, choosing to extend his break from golf after his provocative remarks that he was a Saudi-funded rival league which he supported and accused the PGA Tour of being greedy.
Mickelson wrote one of the most spectacular victories last year when he won the PGA on Kiawah Island, becoming the oldest champion in the Majors ’161 years at the age of 50.
Now, the popular phrase from a decade ago – “What will Phil do next?” – Carries more intrigue than mere excitement.
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The US PGA has announced its decision on social media. The PGA Championship kicks off on Friday at the Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Mickelson has not played for Saudi International since February 6, where he accused the PGA Tour of “malicious greed” in an interview with Golf Digest.
Two weeks later, in an excerpt from an unapproved biography of Alan Shiponk published the following week, Mickelson revealed how he was working behind the scenes to promote the rival league, funded by the Public Investment Fund and run by Greg Norman.
Mickelson has denounced Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses, including the assassination of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, saying it was worth it to benefit from the changes he wanted on the PGA Tour.
Mickelson met the April 25 deadline to sign up for the PGA Championship, although his manager said it was more about keeping his options open. He also entered the US Open and said he would call for the release of a controversial event for the LIV Golf Invitational in London, the first of Norman’s $ 29 million tournament.
The tour said earlier this week that it would not make any releases.
Mickelson is the first major champion to miss the title after Rory McIlroy played football in St. Andrews in 2015 due to a knee injury.
He is only the third PGA champion to defend his title in the last 75 years. Tiger Woods missed recovery time from reconstructive knee surgery in 2008 and Ben Hogan was unable to play when he recovered from his car after being hit by a bus in 1949.
Mickelson’s problems were self-inflicted.
Six-time major champion and CBS analyst Nick Faldo said on Thursday, “I personally think it’s an incredible emotional challenge to come back and play after he’s left.” “I don’t think it’s as easy as getting back on the bike and getting to the golf tournament and playing. The attention is going to be memorable.”
Whether Mickelson will defy the tour by playing in London in three weeks, or whether he will go to the US Open, is the only major he has never won.
His last game in the United States was on January 26 in Torre Pine. He misses the cut.
Shiponak’s book is due to be released on Wednesday. Quotes he has already posted on his “Firepit Collective” site include Mickelson saying he hired players to pay attorneys to write a new league operating contract.
“We know they killed Khashoggi and they have a terrible human rights record. They execute people there for being gay. Why should I consider it knowing all this? Because it’s an opportunity to reshape once in a lifetime. How the PGA Tour works,” Said.
He described the PGA Tour and Commissioner J Monahan as “authoritarian”.
“I’m not sure I want to make the event a success,” he said of the Saudi league. “But just the idea of it allows us to get things done with the tour.”
Mickelson quickly lost corporate sponsors like KPMG and Amstel Light, while Workday said it would not renew its contract with him. Mickelson issued a statement in which he described his remarks as “reckless” and apologized for his word choice.
Mickelson said in his statement that he has felt deep pressure and pressure over the last 10 years and needs time.
However, he did not say whether he would take a break from golf. He has not played for Saudi International since February 8. He’s not playing this week. His statement concludes, “I know I’m not my best and I need some time to prioritize the people I love the most and work for the person I want to be.”
“I know I wasn’t my best and it takes some time to prioritize who I love the most and work for the person I want to be,” he said in February.
Mickelson replaces former Masters champion Charles Schwartzel.
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