Defending champion Phil Mickelson has withdrawn from next week’s PGA Championship in Oklahoma.

The 51-year-old became the oldest major winner in history last year when he won the PGA at Kiawah Island for his sixth career major title. He has not played since February after criticism of his comments about the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series and did not play in the Masters for the first time in 28 years.

Mickelson been named in the 156-man field for golf’s second major of the year, which takes place from May 19-22 at Southern Hills, but the the PGA of America issued a statement on Twitter on Friday to say that he had withdrawn from the event, although no specific reason was given for his absence.  

The statement ended: “Phil is the defending champion and currently eligible to be a PGA life member and we would have welcomed him to participate. We wish Phil the very best and look forward to his return to golf.”

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