8 Big Names Missing The PGA Championship

Take a look at eight of the biggest names that will not feature at the PGA Championship at Southern Hills

Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson walk on a golf course
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The PGA Championship field is made up of 156 of the best players in the world and, whilst we know the identity of those that are taking part, we look at a handful of those that won't be featuring this week at Southern Hills...

1. PHIL MICKELSON

Phil Mickelson holds the Wanamaker Trophy

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Lefty has made the difficult decision not to defend his PGA Championship title in the wake of controversial comments where he criticised the PGA Tour's stance on player media rights before he admitted his involvement with the then-rumoured Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series was purely for leverage against the Tour.

The American later apologised and has taken a hiatus from the game and hasn't featured since the Saudi International in February.

The 51-year-old's presence will be missed at Southern Hills after he became the oldest Major champion in history when he triumphed at Kiawah Island last year.

2. BRYSON DECHAMBEAU

Bryson DeChambeau plays a practice round while testing his fitness before the 2022 PGA Championship

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The Golfing Scientist travelled to Southern Hills to test out his hand after surgery last month but ultimately decided it wasn't quite ready to take the strain of 72 holes of Major championship golf.

"After careful consideration, I have decided to WD from the PGA Championship," he wrote on social media. "I want to make a full return when I am 100% ready to compete at golf’s highest level. Thank you all for the continued support!"

DeChambeau injured his hand in a slip whilst playing ping pong at the Saudi International earlier this year. His 2022 has been plagued with injury, after a hip problem too. He has made just six starts so far this year, with a withdrawal, three missed cuts, a T25 at the limited-field Sentry Tournament of Champions and a T58 at the WGC-Match Play.

3. DANNY WILLETT

Danny Willett celebrates 2016 Masters victory

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Danny Willett made history at the 2016 Masters when a final round 67, and a hiccup from Jordan Spieth, earned him the Green Jacket and his first Major championship. In doing so, he became only the second Englishman to win at Augusta National and the first European to triumph in 17 years.  

Unfortunately for Willett, the following two years weren't too kind. He missed the cut at his Masters defence, the first since Mike Weir in 2004 to do so, and endured a string of back injuries that resulted in a loss of PGA Tour playing status as he failed to make the required number of starts.

The Englishman slipped to 462nd in the Official World Golf Ranking after he opened the 2018 season with nine missed cuts and a withdrawal in his first twelve tournament appearances.

His health and form improved towards the latter end of the year with the former Masters champion going on to notch victories at the 2018 DP World Tour Championship and the flagship 2019 BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. 

That spell catapulted him back into the top-50 in the Official World Golf Ranking but he currently sits at 127th. His Masters victory no longer affords him playing rights in the PGA Championship. 

4. PAUL CASEY

Paul Casey walking in the fairway

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Paul Casey made his PGA Championship debut in 2002 and has featured in all but one since. In 2009, a rib-injury ruled him out of the tournament where YE Yang went on to defeat Tiger Woods at Hazeltine. 

The 44-year-old posted his career-best Major finish at the 2020 PGA Championship when he finished runner-up. He backed that up with a tie for fourth last year.

In 2022 however, he has only been able to feature in a handful of events as he is continually plagued with a back injury. He came within a whisker at the Players Championship in March but subsequently withdrew from the Valspar Championship, WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, the Masters, the Wells Fargo and now the PGA Championship. 

We wish him well in his recovery.

5. SUNGJAE IM

SungJae Im Hits An Iron

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Sungjae Im is the best-ranked player that won't be teeing it up at Southern Hills after the 24-year-old tested positive for Covid-19 and was forced to withdraw from the Woori Financial Group Championship in South Korea. The event was to be the first time Im competed in his native country since 2019.

Due to South Korea Covid-19 protocols, Im is prohibited from travelling to the United States to compete for the PGA Championship at Southern Hills.

The World No.20 was victorious at the Shriner's Children Open in October and finished in a tie for 8th at the Masters. 

6. Thorbjorn Olesen

thorbjorn olesen

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The Dane featured on the Ryder Cup team when it was last contested on European soil; where he defeated Jordan Spieth 5&4 en route to an emphatic 17½ to 10½ victory.

Unfortunately for Olesen, the events that followed did not help his career. In August 2019 he was charged with sexual assault, being drunk on an aircraft and common assault. He was then suspended by the DP World Tour pending the outcome of the criminal charges.

The suspension was initially set to last the length of the proceedings but in July 2020, the Tour lifted the suspension as his court date was postponed for over a year until December 2021; where he was cleared of all charges by a court in London. 

After a four year absence from the winner's circle, Olesen won the 2022 Betfred British Masters when he finished eagle-birdie on the final two holes to claim a one shot victory. Sadly, the victory did not earn exemption into the PGA Championship. 

He has ranked as highly as 33rd in the Official World Golf Ranking but now sits at 175th.

7. MATT WALLACE

Matt Wallace poses with the trophy after winning the 2019 Par-3 Contest

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Matt Wallace has endured a difficult 2022 so far - missing eight cuts in his last nine PGA Tour appearances. His best finish on the PGA Tour this season is a T67 at the Mexico Open at Vidanta, whilst on the DP World Tour, a T35 at Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic. 

The Englishman was inside the top-50 in the Official World Golf Ranking last year but his recent run of form has resulted in a slip to 150th. He had played in each of the last four editions of the PGA Championship and posted a career-best Major finish in 2019 when he finished in third place - behind eventual winner, Brooks Koepka. 

8. Jimmy Walker

Jimmy Walker walking the fairway at the Valspar Championship

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Jimmy Walker won the PGA Championship in 2016 when he produced a ball-striking masterclass at Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey to defeat 2015 champion, Jason Day, by a single shot.

Soon after his Major championship triumph, Walker was diagnosed with Lyme disease - a bacterial infection passed to humans through infected ticks. In Walker's case, it caused horrific flu-like symptoms that would hit harshly and then go away. It caused serious issues with fatigue that would go on to impact his level of practice and standard of golf.

At the time of the diagnosis, the American was at the top of his game. He had just earned his first Major title and established himself as a key figure on the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup scene. At the time, he maintained in the top-30 of the Official World Golf Ranking and climbed as high as tenth.

With complications surrounding the diagnosis and subsequent treatment, Walker has been unable to reach those heights again. He has opted not to take advantage of his past champion exemption and will not tee it up at Southern Hills. 

James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.