US PGA Championship organisers confirm Phil Mickelson will NOT defend his title next week… after six-time major winner’s request to play in the first event of the Saudi-backed breakaway was denied
- Phil Mickelson has been taking a break since comments about the PGA Tour
- He also talked about Saudi-backed breakaway spearheaded by Greg Norman
- The six-time major winner registered for the US PGA and next month’s US Open
- But request to be released to play first LIV Golf Invitational Series event rejected
Phil Mickelson will not defend his title in next week’s US PGA Championship at Southern Hills, tournament organisers have announced.
Mickelson has been taking a break from golf since the fall-out from his explosive comments about the PGA Tour and the Saudi-backed breakaway spearheaded by Greg Norman.
The six-time major winner registered for the US PGA and next month’s US Open on March 25 and also requested a release from the PGA Tour to play the first LIV Golf Invitational Series event from June 9-11.
Golfing icon Phil Mickelson will not defend his title in next week’s US PGA Championship
Mickelson, a six-time major tournament winner, is taking a break from the championship after his comments about the Saudi-backed breakaway spearheaded by Greg Norman (pictured)
That request to grant players permission to play in St Albans next month, which offers a prize fund of £20million, was denied by the PGA Tour earlier this week.
In a post on Twitter, the PGA of America wrote: ‘We have just been informed that Phil Mickelson has withdrawn from the PGA Championship.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 (his wife) the very best and look forward to his return to golf.’
PGA Tour rejected his request to be released to play first LIV Golf Invitational Series event
Mickelson’s victory at Kiawah Island made him the oldest winner of a men’s major championship, his two-shot victory over Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen coming just a month before his 51st birthday.
With the DP World Tour believed to be following suit, the likes of Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood would be open to penalties should they play.
But Norman promised LIV Golf will pay the fines of any rebel who risks sanction to join his controversial, Saudi-backed breakaway – and even represent them in court.
‘They can fine you, ban you for life or temporarily suspend you,’ said Norman. ‘We have $2billion backing us, we have an incredible legal team and we are still going to defend the rights of the players.’
Norman (right) promised LIV Golf will pay the fines of any rebel who risks sanction, including Mickelson (left)