Phil Mickelson withdraws from PGA Championship

TULSA, Okla. — (AP) — Defending champion Phil Mickelson withdraws from PGA Championship.

The PGA of America announced on Friday that Mickelson, 51, has withdrawn from the event, which will be played at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Bowing out of the tournament extends the six-time majors champion’s absence from golf since his controversial comments about a Saudi-funded rival league he supports, and his criticism of the PGA Tour, ESPN reported.

The PGA Championship said this on Twitter:

Mickelson made history at last year’s PGA Championship when he won at Kiawah Island at age 50, The Associated Press reported. That made Mickelson the oldest champion in the 161 years of major tournaments.

He is only the third PGA champion not to defend his title in the last 75 years, according to the AP. Tiger Woods missed the 2008 event while recovering from reconstructive knee surgery, and Ben Hogan was unable to play in 1949, as he was recovering from an accident when his car was struck by a bus.

Mickelson, a three-time winner at the Masters, skipped last month’s event for the first time since 1994, ESPN reported.

Last month, Mickelson, a six-time majors champion, skipped the Masters, an event he won three times, for the first time since 1994.

He has not played since Feb. 6 at the Saudi International and has been out of public view.

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