Phil Mickelson will not defend his PGA Championship title after withdrawing

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PGA Championship
Source: Skysports

Phil Mickelson has announced that he will not defend his PGA Championship title next week.

Since the fallout from his inflammatory statements regarding the PGA Tour and the Saudi-backed breakaway led by Greg Norman, Mickelson has taken a hiatus from golf.

On April 25, the six-time major winner signed up for the US PGA and the US Open, as well as requested a release from the PGA Tour to compete in the first LIV Golf Invitational Series event from June 9-11.

The PGA Tour turned down that request earlier this week.

“We have just been told that Phil Mickelson has withdrawn from the PGA Championship,” the PGA Championship organisers said in a statement. Phil is the defending champion and is currently eligible for PGA Life Membership, so he would have been a great addition to the field.

“We wish Phil and Amy the very best and look forward to his return to golf.”

Rich Beem, a Sky Sports analyst and 2002 PGA Championship winner, expressed astonishment at Mickelson’s decision to withdraw but expressed concern that his comeback to professional golf was coming too soon.

“Everything I’d heard building up to it was that he was committed to playing in it and defending his title,” Beem said.

“But I still almost questioned that it seemed a little bit early for him to come back to the game – and no matter where he is at in the world, and no matter what he is doing, hopefully, everything is moving in the right direction for him.”

“I believe that’s an accurate statement,” Beem said when asked if Mickelson’s choice not to play will ensure there is less of a distraction surrounding the major event.

“But withdrawing right there, there are probably more questions to be asked.”

Last year, barely a month shy of turning 51, Mickelson won the PGA Championship by two strokes over Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen on Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course, becoming golf’s oldest major victor.

Tiger Woods, a past champion, will compete in the PGA Championship next week.

The last time the PGA Championship was held at Southern Hill, Woods won by two strokes for the fourth time, despite the course layout being dramatically altered since then.

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