TULSA, Okla. (WROC) — Officially Phil Mickelson withdrew from this PGA championship because he was not ready to play golf.
Unofficially, Mickelson is still hiding after excusing the use of Saudi money for a rival golf tour despite their, as Mickelson said, “horrible record on human rights”.
The absence of the defending champ at this event is palpable.
“This should be a celebration, right?” Rory McIlroy said. “He won a major championship at 50 years old. It was possibly his last big, big moment in the game of golf. He should be — I think he should be here this week.”
“Phil has said some things that I think a lot of us who are committed to the Tour and committed to the legacy of the Tour have pushed back against,” Tiger Woods said. “But as a professional, we miss him being out here.”
“It’s unfortunate. It’s sad,” McIlroy added. “I don’t know what else I can say.”
The battle between the new LIV Tour and the PGA Tour could impact the PGA Championship at Oak Hill. To be a PGA of America member, bylaws say a player must be part of a recognized Tour. If the PGA Tour, theoretically, ejects players who play LIV events, they may not be eligible for the PGA Championship.
However, this is still plenty to shake out with the formation of the new tour and how the PGA Tour handles it. As PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh said, “We’ve got a lot of time before Oak Hill.”