Phil Mickelson “not missed” at PGA Championship dinner he was meant to host


Phil Mickelson has been in golf exile following his comments regarding human rights in Saudi Arabia ahead of his attempt to join the LIV Golf Invitational Series

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McIlroy ‘pretty sure’ Saudi-backed breakaway would not happen

Controversial golfer Phil Mickelson was told he was ‘not missed’ as the previous champions met for dinner ahead of the PGA Championship.

The annual meal is traditionally hosted by the winner of the previous year. However, Mickelson – who became the oldest major champion when he claimed the PGA Championship title at Kiawah Island in 2021 – is absent from the upcoming event at Southern Hills.

The 51-year-old has not competed since his ill-advised comments regarding human rights in Saudi Arabia ahead of his attempt to join the LIV Golf Invitational Series. Mickelson suggested he was joining the rival tour to gain leverage in negotiations with the PGA Tour, which he referred to as a ‘dictatorship’.

However, it appears Mickelson’s absence from dinner was almost preferred. Dave Stockton, who won the PGA Championship in 1970 and 1976, took a shot at Mickelson by suggesting the evening was better following his absence.

“It was a fun evening. Phil was not missed, ”Stockton told Golf Channel. “I think Phil would have been a big distraction. The story here this week is the PGA. ”

The PGA of America handled the duties for Mickelson following his exile, with the body picking a menu and providing gifts for the guests. Stockton reportedly played a crucial role in restructuring the dinner for past champions, according to the Golf Channel.

Phil Mickelson was absent from the PGA Championship champions dinner
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Image:

Getty Images)

At At Kiawah last year we had I think six or seven people in the room besides just players, and like we did (Tuesday), we sat around and they can’t separate us out because there’s so many players, former champions, that it was unbelievable, ”Stockton said.

“We ended the night, and everybody stayed. I think it blew the PGA officers away. ”

Mickelson was originally scheduled to make his return to golf action at the PGA Championship following his monumental win last year. However, he remains away from the game after his controversial remarks.

Rory McIlroy added: “This should be a celebration. He won a major championship at 50 years old.

Phil Mickelson became the oldest major winner in golf history with his 2021 PGA Championship win
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Image:

USA TODAY Sports)

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“It was possibly his last big, big moment in the game of golf. I think he should be here this week and celebrating what a monumental achievement he achieved last year. It’s unfortunate. It’s sad. ”

Mickelson has not played since January and has been taking a break from golf after criticizing Saudi Arabia’s regime, and the fallout from his comments also led to him missing the Masters for the first time in 28 years.

In his interview, Mickelson dismissed Saudi’s human rights record – including the death of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi – as he declared he wanted leverage from the PGA Tour. He labeled the Saudis ‘scary mother *******’ and has since apologized for his comments, although he still filed a request to play in an LIV Golf Invitational Series event which conflicts with the PGA Tour.

In the wake of the interview, Mickelson lost his longest and most valuable sponsor, KPMG, as well as the opportunity to win further prize money at the tournaments he missed. Mickelson’s agent confirmed he has asked the PGA Tour for a conflicting event release to play in the first LIV Golf Invitational series to be held June 9-11 outside London.

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