Phil Mickelson declines to defend his PGA Championship title

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Veteran U.S. golfer Phil Mickelson has resigned to defend his historic PGA Championship title, the second Grand Slam tournament of the year, at next week's 2022 edition in Tulsa, Oklahoma, organizers announced Friday.

"We have just been informed that Phil Mickelson has withdrawn from the PGA Championship," the tournament said on its Twitter account.

A year ago, the Californian achieved an epic victory in this tournament at the age of 50, being the oldest Grand Slam winner in history.

Mickelson has not competed on the PGA Tour since his controversial comments were published in February in support of a new Saudi-backed golf competition, the LIV Golf Series, which opens next month.

Mickelson and his comments

Mickelson has stayed out of the public eye since the final round of the Saudi International tournament played on February 6. Shortly thereafter, journalist Alan Shipnuck published explosive comments from Mickelson about his involvement in a Greg Norman golf project that would have Saudi backing.

Mickelson dismissed Saudi Arabia's human rights record, including the murder of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi, when he asserted that it was worth getting involved with the Saudis if it helped get what he wanted from the PGA tour.

Gambling problems

Federal auditors investigating Phil Mickelson's involvement in an insider trading case found that his gambling losses exceeded $40 million between 2010 and 2014, according to an excerpt from a forthcoming biography of the golfer written by journalist Alan Shipnuck.

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