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Both Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, it seems, are ready to hit the course again.
Woods and Mickelson were officially listed in the field Monday for next week’s PGA Championship. Though there is still plenty of time for things to change before the second major championship of the year kicks off in Tulsa, Oklahoma, it will mark Woods’ first tournament since The Masters last month and Mickelson’s first appearance back since his controversial comments about Saudi Arabia.
Tiger Woods set for PGA Championship after Masters
Woods competed at The Masters last month, his first time back playing competitively since his horrific single-car crash that nearly cost him his leg more than a year ago.
Woods made the cut after opening with a 71 at Augusta National and played all four days, but he was struggling by the end of the week. He has said all along that his biggest issue is simply walking that far on consecutive days, and Augusta National’s hilly and challenging course didn’t help that.
Though Woods isn’t planning to play full-time on the PGA Tour again, he did commit to playing the British Open in July and said he may compete in other majors and big tournaments along the way. He played a practice round at Southern Hills Country Club last month, too.
The last time the PGA Championship was at Southern Hills, Woods beat Woody Austin to claim his 13th major championship.
Even though being listed in the field isn’t a firm commitment to compete, it’s a good sign that Woods will tee it up next Thursday in Oklahoma.
Phil Mickelson returning after Saudi Arabia scandal
Mickelson is apparently also set for his return to golf after a more than three-month hiatus, but his break was far different than the one Woods had.
Mickelson hasn’t played since the Farmers Insurance Open in late January, and stepped away from golf completely after making controversial comments about Saudi Arabia and the Saudi-backed LIV Golf league.
Mickelson said in an interview for an upcoming book that he was willing to work with the Saudis despite them being “scary motherf***ers” and having a horrific record on human rights. He said he was willing to overlook those things, including the killing of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi, because “this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates.
Mickelson has since apologized for those comments, and has been quiet ever since.
The LIV Golf series is going to start next Month, something Mickelson has applied to play in. Greg Norman, who is running that series, actually blamed Mickelson’s comments for the reason why so many of the sport’s top golfers backed out.
“It hurt a lot of aspects. It hurt the PGA Tour. It hurt us. It hurt the game of golf. It hurt Phil,” Norman said last week. “So yeah, across all fronts. It wasn’t just specifically to us. But it definitely created negative momentum against us.”
Mickelson is the defending champion at the PGA Championship after he won last year at Torrey Pines. That win marked the 45th of his career and his sixth major.
Like Woods, Mickelson can still pull out of the PGA Championship. If he does in fact play, however, he’s sure to be asked about his most recent scandal.