Holder Mickelson out of PGA Championship

Phil Mickelson said on Friday he will not defend his PGA Championship title after having stepped away from the game in February amid fallout from comments he made regarding a Saudi-backed golf league.

Mickelson, 51, had kept golf fans guessing about whether he would be at Southern Hills Country Club next week but the speculation ended with the PGA of America confirming he would not be in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“We have just been informed that Phil Mickelson has withdrawn from the PGA Championship,” the PGA of America said.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

Mickelson’s public image took a hit when the author of an unauthorised biography on the six-times major champion said the golfer told him he was willing to look past Saudi Arabia’s human rights record to gain leverage with the PGA Tour.

Saudi Arabia’s government has denied accusations of human rights abuses and Mickelson later apologised for the comments, which he claimed were off the record, and then said he planned to take time away from the sport. (Reuters)