Seth Waugh – the chief executive of PGA of America – wanted it to all go away.

It was earlier this month he went on the ‘5 Clubs Conversation’ and told Gary Williams he did not want Phil Mickelson’s potential return to golf to “become a media circus”.

At that point, Mickelson was still a chance to defend his PGA Championship.

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Phil Mickelson won’t defend his PGA major. Photo: Getty Images
Phil Mickelson won’t defend his PGA major. Photo: Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Now, the 51-year-old has withdrawn and his decision has become the talk of the town.

“We have just been informed that Phil Mickelson has withdrawn from the PGA Championship,” the PGA of America said in a statement.

“Phil is the defending champion… and we would have welcomed him to participate. We wish Phil and Amy [his wife] the very best and look forward to his return to golf.”

As the Telegraph’s chief golf correspondent James Corrigan opened his report, “The Saudi fallout continues to rip apart golf’s landscape.”

Unfortunately for Mickelson and the PGA, this story still has a few chapters left to write.

Mickelson’s withdrawal less than a week out from the second major of the year has shocked the golf world.

In the space of a year, Phil Mickelson has gone slid from golf royalty to one of sports pariahs. Photo: Getty ImagesSource: AFP

It leaves the PGA without one of its biggest names, with the six-time major winner still unsighted since his controversial comments earlier this year regarding his possible defection to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational.

Mickelson’s public image took a hit when Alan Shipnuck, the American journalist writing a biography of the golfer, revealed Mickelson had called the Saudis “scary motherf***ers” during a telephone call.

It was also revealed that Mickelson was pushing their project to gain leverage for better deals with the PGA Tour.

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Mickelson apologised for his reckless comments and said: “I have made a lot of mistakes in my life and many have been shared with the public. My intent was never to hurt anyone and I’m so sorry to the people I have negatively impacted.”

His continual absence from the PGA Tour has left it open to interpretation that he could still yet quit and join Greg Norman’s LIV tour, which gets underway next month in June.

Social media erupted following Mickelson’s withdrawal, with many split between the disappointment his absence is causing to the tour but also his astonishing comments.

Yet, the Twitter world remains gobsmacked by his fall from grace and the fact one year after he became golf’s oldest major winner he won’t return to defend his trophy.

Pundit Brandel Chamblee led the social media response, saying Mickelson had gone “from preternatural accomplishment to something of a pariah in one year”.



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