The second major championship of the year approaches, and with it, the official field list for the event featuring the two biggest names in the sport. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are indeed on the official PGA of America field list making it possible for both to be in attendance at Southern Hills next week for the 2022 PGA Championship.
Woods’ participation in the PGA Championship was speculated after the 15-time major winner was spotted at Southern Hills two weeks ago as part of a scouting trip. By all accounts, the stroll around the property was a success as he was accompanied by the course’s director of golf, Cary Cozby.
“Everything is so smooth with him now. His rhythm is great, he hit it straight and plenty far, he pitched and putted it great,” Cozby told Golf Oklahoma’s Ken MacLeod. “I know guys can hit it past him now, but watching him work was amazing. He’s so meticulous, detailed and immersed in what he’s doing. He was very inquisitive on lines and the best angles.”
Woods, a four-time PGA Champion, raised the Wanamaker Trophy at Southern Hills in 2007. The 46-year-old was last seen in competition at the 2022 Masters more than a month ago where he impressively made the cut but ultimately finished in 47th with his two worst rounds at Augusta National over the weekend.
Not seen at Augusta was Mickelson, who chose to forgo the Masters for the first time in 28 years after public outcry over his comments regarding the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf League. Away from competition since the Saudi International in February, the 51-year-old stepping onto the course at Southern Hills may come as even more of a shock than Woods.
Despite shying away from the spotlight, Mickelson recently held conversations with the PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh.
“He’s trying to figure out when the right time for him is [to reappear],” Waugh told Gary Williams on the “5 Clubs Conversation” podcast about the six-time major winner’s status. “I think the game is trying to figure out the right time for him, too. How long is long enough? And is he ready? I think it will be a late decision and I think we will continue to have conversations.”
Mickelson famously became the oldest major winner when he captured last year’s PGA Championship at age 50. It was unknown whether he would defend his crown at Southern Hills after his agent, Steve Loy, released a statement pertaining to his upcoming playing schedule on April 25.
Loy confirmed that Mickelson had registered for the U.S. Open and PGA Championship as well as the first LIV Golf Invitational in London from June 9-11.
“Phil currently has no concrete plans on when and where he will play,” Loy stated. “Any actions taken are in no way a reflection of a final decision made but rather to keep all options open.”
With Mickelson’s name in the field for the PGA Championship, those ambiguous plans may have been cemented. Plenty can change over the course of a week, but as of now, it appears both Woods and Mickelson are scheduled to be at Southern Hills.