Norman's rebel league claims biggest victim yet

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Phil Mickelson withdrew from the PGA Championship, electing to widen his hiatus from play pursuing his incendiary comments helium made astir a Saudi-funded rival league helium supports and the PGA Tour helium accused of greed.

Mickelson authored 1 of the astir stunning victories past twelvemonth erstwhile helium won the PGA astatine Kiawah Island, astatine property 50 becoming the oldest champion successful 161 years of the majors.

Now, the fashionable operation from a decennary agone — "What volition Phil bash next?" — carries much intrigue than sheer excitement.

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The PGA of America announced his determination connected societal media. The PGA Championship starts Friday astatine Southern Hills Country Club successful Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Mickelson has not played since February 6 astatine the Saudi International, wherever helium accused the PGA Tour of "obnoxious greed" successful an interrogation with Golf Digest.

Two weeks later, successful an excerpt from Alan Shipnuck's unauthorized biography to beryllium released adjacent week, Mickelson revealed however helium had been moving down the scenes to beforehand the rival league funded by the Public Investment Fund and tally by Greg Norman.

Mickelson dismissed Saudi Arabia's quality rights atrocities, including the sidesplitting of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, by saying it was worthy it if it meant gaining leverage to get the changes helium wanted connected the PGA Tour.

Mickelson met the deadline to motion up for the PGA Championship connected April 25, though his manager said it was much astir keeping his options ope. He besides entered the US Open, and said helium would inquire for a conflicting lawsuit merchandise to play the LIV Golf Invitational successful London, the archetypal of Norman's $29 cardinal tournaments.

Phil Mickelson successful enactment during the PIF Saudi International astatine Royal Greens Golf & Country Club connected February 05, 2022 (Getty)

The circuit said earlier this week it would not assistance immoderate releases.

Mickelson is the archetypal large champion not to support his rubric since Rory McIlroy astatine St. Andrews successful 2015 due to the fact that of a genu wounded from playing soccer.

He is lone the 3rd PGA champion not to support his rubric successful the past 75 years. Tiger Woods missed successful 2008 portion recovering from reconstructive genu surgery, and Ben Hogan couldn't play successful 1949 portion recovering from his car getting struck by a bus.

Mickelson's issues were self-inflicted.

"I personally deliberation it's an unbelievable intelligence situation to travel backmost and play aft what he's enactment himself through," six-time large champion and CBS expert Nick Faldo said connected Thursday. "I don't deliberation it's arsenic casual arsenic conscionable getting backmost connected the motorcycle and arriving astatine a play tourney and playing. The attraction is going to beryllium monumental."

Phil Mickelson (Getty)

Now the attraction shifts to whether Mickelson volition defy the circuit by playing successful London successful 3 weeks, oregon if helium would spell to the US Open, the lone large helium has ne'er won.

His past clip playing successful America was astatine Torrey Pines connected Jan. 28. He missed the cut.

Shipnuck's publication is scheduled to beryllium released connected Wednesday. Among the excerpt helium already has published connected his "Firepit Collective" tract included Mickelson saying helium recruited players to wage attorneys to constitute the operating statement of a caller league.

"We cognize they killed Khashoggi and person a horrible grounds connected quality rights. They execute radical implicit determination for being gay. Knowing each of this, wherefore would I adjacent see it? Because this is simply a once-in-a-lifetime accidental to reshape however the PGA Tour operates," Mickelson said.

He referred to the PGA Tour and Commissioner Jay Monahan arsenic a "dictatorship."

"I'm not definite I lawsuit privation it to succeed," helium said of the Saudi league. "But conscionable the thought of it is allowing america to get things done with the tour."

Mickelson swiftly mislaid firm sponsors specified arsenic KPMG and Amstel Light, portion Workday said it would not beryllium renewing its woody with him. Mickelson released a connection successful which helium described his remark arsenic "reckless" and apologized for his prime of words.

Mickelson said successful his connection helium has felt unit and accent affecting him astatine a deeper level implicit the past 10 years and helium needs clip away.

But helium did not accidental if helium would beryllium taking a interruption from golf. He has not played since the Saudi International connected Feb. 6. He is not playing this week. His connection concluded, "I cognize I person not been my champion and desperately request immoderate clip distant to prioritize the ones I emotion astir and enactment connected being the antheral I privation to be."

"I cognize I person not been my champion and desperately request immoderate clip distant to prioritize the ones I emotion astir and enactment connected being the antheral I privation to be," helium said successful February.

Mickelson was replaced successful the tract by erstwhile Masters champion Charl Schwartzel.

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