'He Should Be Here' - McIlroy On Mickelson's PGA Championship Absence

The Northern Irishman is disappointed Lefty won't be at Southern Hills to defend his title

Rory McIlroy speaks to the press ahead of the 2022 PGA Championship
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy has expressed his disappointment at the absence of Phil Mickelson from this week’s PGA Championship.

Mickelson was named in the field for the second Major of the year, at Southern Hills, as recently as last week, but has since withdrawn. That has fuelled speculation he might be appear in the LIV Golf Invitational Series, which begins at London’s Centurion Club on 9 June, and for McIlroy, the whole saga is regrettable. He said: “This should be a celebration, right? He won a Major championship at 50 years old. It was possibly his last big, big moment in the game of golf.”

Mickelson’s achievement last year meant he became the oldest Major winner in history. While he has been on a hiatus from professional golf following a backlash to comments he made earlier in the year regarding the PGA Tour and the Saudi-backed series, he had been expected to make his comeback this week, and as far as McIlroy’s concerned, that should still be the case. He said: “I think he should be here this week and celebrating what a monumental achievement he achieved last year. It's unfortunate. It's sad. Yeah, I don't know what else I can say.”

The six-time Major winner is one of several big names missing from the PGA Championship, including Paul Casey, who has withdrawn because of injury. Nevertheless, there is still a predictably strong field, including Tiger Woods, who will make his second appearance after injury following his encouraging performance at The Masters last month. 

McIlroy, who stands two Major wins behind Mickelson with four, goes into the tournament having finished runner-up at Augusta National. With that performance still fresh in the memory, the Northern Irishman will be hopeful of claiming his first third PGA Championship and first Major since 2014.  

Things You Didn't Know About Rory McIlroy

Mike Hall
Mike Hall

Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.