It turns out that Phil Mickelson will not defend his PGA Championship title.
The PGA of America announced Friday afternoon that Mickelson will not play in the major championship next week at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Okla.
“We have just been informed that Phil Mickelson has withdrawn from the PGA Championship,” the statement read.
“Phil is the defending champion and currently eligible to be a PGA Life Member and we would have welcomed him to participate. We wish Phil and Amy the very best and look forward to his return to golf.”
Mickelson has been in seclusion for several months after ripping the PGA Tour’s “obnoxious greed” for the money it does (not) distribute to golfers, and then making remarks downplaying human rights concerns in Saudi Arabia, whose government is backing a controversial upstart golf series competing with the PGA Tour.
“They’re scary mother [expletive] to get involved with,” Mickelson told author Alan Shipnuck. “We know they killed [Washington Post reporter Jamal] Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights. They execute people over there for being gay. Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates.”
Earlier this week, The Post asked CBS commentator Jim Nantz if Mickelson should play in the PGA Championship.
“Totally a personal decision for Phil,” Nantz said. “I’m not going to make any public advisements, but he will be back. Sometimes we get caught in the cyclone of a story and we think it will be forever. It won’t be forever. He’ll be back.
“Of course, his age is a factor in how much he’ll be able to compete at a high level, but that’s what they said a year ago. He’ll be back. He’ll play. He’s got a ton of fans out there. This is a forgiving nation. There’s a million examples of people who have been somehow able to find their way back to be on top again. I fully expect he will.”