At the PGA Championship, Phil Mickelson’s absence was like an ‘elephant in the room’

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TULSA – Here in the hot hills of northeastern Oklahoma, Phil Mickelson once walked into the players’ locker room at the end of the 2001 US Open and stood at a sink in front of a mirror at 0-for-33 as a Major League professional, a face who embodies that athletic blend of Consumer and high.

Certainly now for the PGA 104 Championships just south of the Southern Hills itself, he’ll appear in a collective embrace at 6 fines for 115 in the majors, an invitation to his historic arc on South Carolina’s Kiawah Island last year, where swirling flocks jostle with beers following the larger veins A major golf all-time winner in 18th alongside the Atlantic.

Instead, while the other title holders missed the defending part due to injury – Rory McIlroy at the 2015 British Open and Tiger Woods at the 2008 PGA Championship, to name a few – Mickelson became the first to lose as he made some despicable comments about the killing. The implementation was published three months ago. He’s yet another counterpart in his newfound role as a villainous loner who missed the Masters and the PGA in avoiding the firestorm.

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As wrinkles persist in an eccentric sport, they are an outward phenomenon.

“This should be a celebration, right?” McIlroy said of Mickelson on Tuesday. “He won a major at the age of 50. It was probably his last moment in golf. He should be – I think he should be here this week and celebrating a massive achievement he achieved last year. It’s a pity. Sad thing. Yeah, I don’t know what I can to say too.”

Here, his absence doubles as screaming “elephant in the room,” in the words of PGA America’s CEO Seth Waugh. Here, others are talking about him while he is not talking about himself. Youngcomer Victor Hovland described it as “a strange situation, that’s for sure”. Longtime lead stalker Ricky Fowler described Mickelson’s ordeal as “it’s been a tough past few months, a tough situation to be in,” and said, “It’s unfortunate that he didn’t feel it was where he should be right now here.” Outstanding golfers like John Ram and Justin Thomas said kindly that they had nothing to say.

Brooks Koepka – who tied for second behind Mickelson, last year and won the event in 2018 and 2019 among four major titles – went on his usual, unwavering path.

“Not here,” Koepka said of Mickelson. “There’s nothing else I can really say.”

After a few questions, he added something, which was that he expected more of himself than he had expected in a second. “I felt last year [I] He said. I didn’t click on it. I missed putting 2 feet in a 4 or 3 hole or something and didn’t press all the way through. I just didn’t do anything and hand it to him.”

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However, Mickelson still holds the 2021 title.

Waugh, whose organization runs the PGA Championship, said, “Look, no one was more excited than us last year when Phil took his epic win, right? Amazing thing. He did something no one else did and won a major championship at the age of 50. It was one of the Great moments in golf, we’ll never forget them. We definitely look forward to him in defense. He’s not here. …

“It’s his choice. I’ve had some conversations with him before, during and after and I can really tell his camp called on Friday and said he wasn’t ready to play. We obviously respect that. We understand that.”

In shredded comments made to Golf Digest in Saudi Arabia in early February, Mickelson referred to the PGA Tour’s “hateful greed” and welcomed the potential rival Saudi Tour as a mechanism to kick out more money from the players’ PGA Tour. He stressed media rights, including that the tour could “force companies to use it.” [clips of] The shots I hit.” He said of the PGA Tour, “It was the hateful greed of this Tour that really opened the door to opportunities elsewhere.”

In self-defeating comments to writer Alan Shipnock, uttered last November but published later that month, Mickelson said of Saudi Arabia: “She’s a terrifying mother… to get involved with. We know they were murdered.” [Jamal] Khashoggi, a US resident and columnist for the Washington Post, has an appalling human rights record. They execute people there for being gay. Knowing all this, why am I even thinking about it? Because this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour works. They were able to overcome manipulative, coercive tactics and strong arm because we, the players, had no recourse. nice man like [PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan] It comes as, unless you have leverage, it won’t do the right thing. Saudi money has finally given us that leverage. Not sure I want [the Saudi venture] To achieve success, but just the idea of ​​it allows us to get things done using [PGA] a trip.”

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Tiger Woods said: “Well, it’s always disappointing when the reigning champions aren’t here. Phil has said some things that I think a lot of us committed to the Tour and committed to the legacy of the Tour have dismissed, and he’s taken some personal time, And we all understand that.

“But I do think some of his opinions on how the tour should be run, it should be run… There was a lot of disagreement there. But as we all know, as a professional, we miss him here. I mean, he’s a big draw in golf. He just takes his time, and we all do. We wish him the best when he comes back. Obviously, we’ll have a difference of opinion, how he sees the tour, and we’ll go from there.”

Woods recalled the late 1960s, when Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer led a breakaway from the PGA of America to form a Players Tour. Woods said, “I understand the different points of view, but I believe in legacies. I believe in the big leagues. I believe in big events and comparisons with historical figures in the past. There is a lot of money here. The Tour is growing. But it’s like any other sport. . . . . To go out there and win it.”

Asked if he had contacted Mickelson, Woods said: “I haven’t reached out to him. I haven’t spoken to him. A lot of that has to do, I think, with personal issues. Our views were on how the tour could be run and how it could be done and what he’s playing for. The players and how we play for him. I have a completely different situation and so, no, I don’t.”

Oddity, and another pioneer, they play.

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