Defending champion Phil Mickelson withdraws from PGA Championship as absence continues

Phil Mickelson has withdrawn from the PGA Championship, which he won in 2021
(Image: Getty Images)

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He was heavily criticised for his comments, with several stars – including Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau among others – declaring their loyalty to the PGA Tour. However, heads will undoubtedly be turned by the sheer prize money on offer.

Total prize money for the eight events – five of which are scheduled to be held in the United States – will be over £200million and the seven regular-season tournaments will have total purses of £20m, which would be the richest in professional golf, with £16m in individual prizes and £4m for the top three teams. The top three individuals after the seven regular-season events will also share a £24m bonus.

The season-ending team match-play championship is scheduled for October 27-30 at Trump National Doral in Miami. It will provide another £40m in prize money.

Big names like Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood are among the players who have sought permission from the PGA Tour to play in the LIV Golf Invitational Series. Justin Thomas, who confirmed he will remain on the PGA Tour, recently revealed he wants the transition to hurry up in order to avoid as much publicity as possible.

“You know, its like, look, if you want to go, go,” Thomas told Sky Sports. “I mean there’s been plenty of guys that have been advocates of it and have just talked it up all the time and they have been guys behind the scenes that are saying, ‘I’m going, I’m doing this.’ And like my whole thing is, like just go then.

“Everybody’s entitled to do what they want, you know what I mean? Like if I wanted to go play that tour I could go play that tour. But I’m loyal to the PGA Tour.”

World No 1 Scottie Scheffler, who won the Masters last month, will start as one of the pre-tournament favourites. Former US PGA champions Rory McIlroy, Thomas, Brooks Koepka and Collin Morikawa are also among those in the field.

World No 3 Jon Rahm, who played alongside Woods in one of his rounds at Augusta, has also been heavily backed. The Spaniard is seeking a second major having captured the US Open in 2021.