Phil Mickelson 'Was Not Missed' at PGA Championship Dinner, Dave Stockton Says

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 19, 2022

TULSA, OK - MAY 18: Dave Stockton speaks at the Contestant Interview Area during a practice round for the 2022 PGA Championship at the Southern Hills on May 18, 2022 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Darren Carroll/PGA of America)
Darren Carroll/PGA of America

Dave Stockton wasn't exactly heartbroken Southern Hills Country Club didn't have to make a plate for Phil Mickelson at the annual champions dinner ahead of the PGA Championship.

"It was a fun evening. Phil was not missed," Stockton, winner of the PGA Championship in 1970 and 1976, told reporters of the occasion. "I think Phil would have been a big distraction whether he was here. The story here this week is the PGA."

PGA of America confirmed on May 13 that Mickelson wouldn't be in the 2022 tournament field to defend his 2021 championship.

The golf legend has been in effect exiled after comments from an interview he gave to The Fire Pit Collective's Alan Shipnuck were published in February.

Mickelson spoke in favor of the Saudi-backed breakaway golf league despite calling the Saudi Arabian regime "scary motherf--kers" who "have a horrible record on human rights." He defended his support by saying the Saudi league presented "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates."

The 51-year-old issued a statement saying the comments "do not reflect my true feelings or intentions," adding he has acted in "the best interests of golf, my peers, sponsors and fans."

Phil Mickelson @PhilMickelson

A Statement from Phil Mickelson <a href="https://t.co/2saaXIxhpu">pic.twitter.com/2saaXIxhpu</a>

The damage was already done by that point, though. The six-time major champion hasn't competed in a PGA Tour event since the Farmers Insurance Open in January.

According to ESPN's Mark Schlabach and Kevin Van Valkenburg, Mickelson's continued absence "has left some pros and others wondering if we'll ever see Lefty on the PGA Tour again."

However, given how news cycles work, all could be forgotten by the time next year's PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club rolls around.