Phil Mickelson’s absence will no doubt loom large over the PGA Championship. A year after his improbable win at Kiawah Island, this week would have been a celebration of that accomplishment and so many others in his career.
Instead of sadness at how far the most beloved golfer since Arnold Palmer has fallen, however, there should be a sense of relief. Bad as it’s been to see his image and reputation go up in flames from a distance, it would be far worse to see the blaze up close.
And that’s exactly what would have happened had Mickelson showed up at Southern Hills.
Waiver requests for the next event on the Saudi-backed tour, almost certain to be denied by the PGA Tour, are due Tuesday. That’s also the day that “Phil,” an unauthorized biography by longtime golf writer Alan Shipnuck that shows the craven and boorish side of the six-time major champion that the public rarely sees, is released.
None Of This Will Show Phil Mickelson In A Good Way
Neither will show Phil Mickelson in a positive light, and he will not be able to dodge the pointed questions whenever he does resurface. The more space he can put between himself and the revelations that undermine the Man of the People image he’s crafted so carefully all these years, the better.
That’s a distance that cannot be measured in days or even weeks, mind you, but rather in months and major championships. He’s already missed the Masters and now the PGA. If Mickelson is smart, he won’t play the U.S. and British Opens, either.