Friday, March 31, 2023

Mickelson decides not to defend title at PGA Championship

Phil Mickelson withdrew Friday from the PGA Championship, choosing to extend his hiatus from golf, following his incendiary comments about the Saudi-funded rival league and accusing the PGA Tour of greed.

Mickelson wrote one of the most surprising victories last year when he won the PGA on Kiawah Island, becoming the oldest champion in 161 years of the majors at age 50.

Now, the popular phrase from a decade ago – “What will Phil do next?” – Intrigues more than sheer excitement.

America’s PGA announced His verdict on social media The PGA Championship begins Thursday at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Mickelson has not played at the Saudi International since February 6, where he accused the PGA Tour of “obnoxious greed” in an interview with Golf Digest.

Two weeks later, in an excerpt from The Unauthorized Biography of Alan Shipnk, to be released next week, Mickelson reveals how he is working behind the scenes to promote a rival league funded by the Public Investment Fund and run by Greg Norman. Was.

Mickelson shrugged off Saudi Arabia’s human rights atrocities, including the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, saying it was worth it if it meant taking advantage of the changes he wanted on the PGA Tour.

Mickelson met the April 25 deadline to sign up for the PGA Championship, though his manager said it was more about keeping his options open. He also entered the US Open, and said he would seek a conflicting event release to play the LIV Golf Invitational in London, the first of Norman’s $20 million tournaments.

The tour said earlier this week that it would not give any releases.

Mickelson is the first major champion not to defend his title since Rory McIlroy at St Andrews in 2015 due to a knee injury from playing football.

He is only the third PGA Champion not to defend his title in the last 75 years. Tiger Woods missed in 2008 while recovering from reconstructive knee surgery, and Ben Hogan could not play while recovering from a bus collision with his car in 1949.

Mickelson’s issues were self-inflicted.

“I personally think it’s an incredible mental challenge to come back and play after what he has put in himself,” six-time major champion and CBS analyst Nick Faldo said on Wednesday. “I don’t think it’s as easy as getting back on the bike and getting in and playing golf tournaments. The attention is going to be monumental.”

The focus now turns to whether Mickelson will postpone the tour by playing in London in three weeks, or if he does go to the US Open, the only major he has never won.

His last play in the US was on January 28 at Torrey Pines. He missed the cut.

Shipunk’s book is set to be released on Tuesday. In excerpts he has already published on his “Firepit Collective” site, Mickelson said he recruited players to pay lawyers to write a new league’s operating agreement.

“We know that he murdered Khashoggi and he has a terrible record on human rights. They kill people there because they are gay. Knowing all this, why should I even think about it? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates,” Mickelson said.

He referred to the PGA Tour and commissioner Jay Monahan as a “dictator”.

“I’m not sure I want it to be successful,” he said of the Saudi league. “But just the idea of ​​it is allowing us to work with the tour.”

Mickelson swiftly lost corporate sponsors such as KPMG and Amstel Light, while Workday said it would not renew its deal with him. Mickelson issued a statement in which he called his remarks “reckless” and apologized for his choice of words.

Mickelson said in his statement that he has felt pressure and tension at a deep level over the past 10 years and is the need of the hour.

But he did not say whether he would take a break from golf. He hasn’t played since the Saudi International on 6 February. He is not playing this week. His statement concluded, “I know I haven’t been my best and that I desperately need to prioritize the ones I love the most and work to become the man I want to be.”

“I know I haven’t been my best and I desperately need some time to prioritize the ones I love most and work as the man I am,” he said in February.

Mickelson was replaced in the field by former Masters champion Charl Schwartzell.


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