Phil Mickelson Withdraws From PGA Championship

The defending champion will not be appearing at Southern Hills, as Mickelson's hiatus from the game continues

Mickelson poses with the trophy
(Image credit: Getty Images)

In a statement on the PGA Championship Twitter page, it was revealed that: "We have just been informed that Phil Mickelson has withdrawn from the PGA Championship. 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."

The withdrawal only fuels speculation that Mickelson might be making an appearance at the first LIV Golf Series Invitational in June, with it being reported that he has signed an agreement to play in all eight Saudi-backed Series events.

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Last year, Mickelson famously claimed the Wannamaker Trophy in historic fashion, with the American becoming the oldest Major winner at 50 years, 11 months and 3 days old. Now though, Lefty won't be defending his title. It is also still unclear when he will return to competitive action.

Speculation had been growing that a return would be sooner rather than later, as Mickelson was spotted at Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club in April. However, following his withdrawal, it seems that the six-time Major winner will carry on his hiatus from the game, for now, following his controversial comments about the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia.

In February, Mickelson called out the PGA Tour and its stance on media rights, with the 51-year-old stating: "The players don’t have access to their own media. If the tour wanted to end any threat [from Saudi or anywhere else], they could just hand back the media rights to the players."

He went on to add: "They also have access to my shots, access I do not have. They also charge companies to use shots I have hit. When I did ‘The Match’—there have been five of them—the tour forced me to pay them $1 million each time. For my own media rights. That type of greed is, to me, beyond obnoxious.”

Phil Mickelson holds the Wanamaker Trophy after winning the 2021 PGA Championship

Mickelson celebrates following his 2021 PGA Championship win

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Not long after his comments on the PGA Tour, Mickelson was soon admitting that his alliance with the rumoured Saudi-backed Series is just a ruse to “leverage” the PGA Tour.

In an excerpt from Alan Shipnuck’s book, titled ‘Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar’, the six-time major winner made it clear he thinks it's merely an attempt to “sportswash” Saudi Arabia's reputation, claiming that: "They’re scary motherf*****s to get involved with."

The comments soon led to Mickelson releasing a statement apologising for his actions, with Lefty going on to take a significant break from the game. During that time, he lost multiple sponsors, including KPMG, Workday, Heineken/Amstel, as well as being removed as the host of The American Express.

Matt Cradock
Matt Cradock

Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.