The 51-year-old Mickelson, who stunned the golf world by becoming the oldest major winner in the sport’s history at last year’s PGA Championship, has not played on the PGA Tour since missing the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open in late January. His most recent competitive appearance was at Saudi International, an Asian Tour event where he finished in a draw in 18th place in early February.
Later that month, Mickelson received widespread criticism for his support for a breakaway circuit funded by the Saudi government that would eventually be revealed as the LIV Golf Invitational Series.
In November, Mickelson told unofficial cinema Alan Shipnuck that he and three other unnamed “top players” were paying lawyers to sign the new league operating contract. The six-time major winner also told Shipnuck that he was willing to ignore Saudi Arabia’s human rights record to get the new league up and running.
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“They’re scary mom to get involved in,” Mickelson said. “We know they killed [Washington Post columnist Jamal] Khashoggi and has a terrible history of human rights. They execute people over there for being gay. When I know all this, why should I even consider it? Because this is a unique opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour works. “
Mickelson lost a number of sponsorships after his comments and has not played since. He missed the Masters – a tournament he has won three times – for the first time since 1994.
Mickelson’s longtime manager, Steve Loy, said Monday that the golfer had entered the US Open, scheduled for mid-June in Brookline, Massachusetts, and the PGA Championship. Loy also revealed that Mickelson had requested a release from the PGA Tour to play in a LIV Golf event near London in early June.
However, Mickelson’s participation in any of these tournaments remains uncertain, according to his manager.
“Phil currently has no concrete plans for when and where he will play,” Loy said in a statement. “Any action taken is in no way a reflection of a final decision, but rather to keep all options open.”
Woods, 46, played most recently in this year’s Masters, his first tournament since suffering a significant injury in a car accident in February 2021. He cleared the cut and finished in 47th place, saying afterwards that he considered his return from an injury as a of his greatest accomplishments as a golfer.
In terms of competing in the next major on the golf calendar, Woods said after the Masters, “I do not know if I want to play Southern Hills or not.”
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“I will never play a full program again,” he added. Those who were hoping to see Woods for the PGA Championship could take some hope from the fact that he went on to claim, “It’s just going to be the big events.”
Woods has won the PGA Championship four times, most recently in 2007, when the tournament was last held at Southern Hills. He broke the track record with a second round of 63 and defeated Woody Austin by two strokes to win the Wanamaker Trophy.
Like previous winners – Mickelson also triumphed at the event in 2005 – they have two lifetime invitations to play in the PGA Championship.
Southern Hills is the only course to host the PGA Championship four times. This year’s PGA Championship was originally scheduled to be held at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ, but was moved to the Southern Hills in January 2021 following the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. At the time, the PGA of America said holding the tournament at a Donald Trump-owned club would be “would be detrimental to the PGA of America brand.”
This year’s tournament starts on 19 May.