Mickelson withdraws from 2022 PGA Championship

Is he in or is he out? It’s been hard to keep up with what the defending PGA champion was going to do.

In the end, Phil Mickelson, the oldest ever major champion following his win at Kiawah Island last year, has perhaps wisely decided not to make his return to golf at the second major of the year.

Jon Rahm greets Mickelson following the 2021 PGA Jon Rahm celebrates with Mickelson following his 2021 PGA win (Credit: PGA Tour)

Mickelson becomes only the third PGA champion not to defend his title in the past 73 years. Tiger Woods pulled out of the 2008 season due to a knee injury following his over Rocco Mediate at the US Open that year while Ben Hogan was busy recovering from a near-death car accident in early 1949. Hogan won his second PGA Championship along with the first of four US Open titles in 1948.

“We have just been informed that Phil Mickelson has withdrawn from the PGA Championship,” said the PGA of America in a statement this week.

“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.”

Last fortnight, PGA of America boss Seth Waugh spoke on the ’5 Clubs Conversation’ podcast about Mickelson’s potential return and his concern about the PGA Championship turning into a media circus.

“I think he’s trying to figure out when the right time for him is,” said Waugh told the ’5 Clubs Conversation’ podcast.

“The idea is, if he does play…he would certainly have to face the media. But I hope it’s Monday or Tuesday, and then once the flag goes up, it’s about the golf.”

“What we’re trying to do is deliver a major championship, not a circus. And so I would hope that he can avoid that, and everybody can avoid that. And we’re talking about golf shots instead of verbal gaffes once we get going.”

So was this a decision made solely by Mickelson or is the 45-time title winner still under some sort of shadow ban where he’s not able to play on the PGA Tour? Recent rumours suggest it may be as simple as his game is understandably just not up to scratch.

I guess we’ll never know. But with Greg Norman’s LIV Golf Invitational Series set to tee off next month and seemingly gathering steam with an additional $2 billion investment announced recently, Mickelson may choose to call time on his PGA Tour career and try his luck on the fledging tour.

The PGA Championship tees off this Thursday (US time) with Tiger Woods headlining proceedings at the Southern Hills Golf Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma.