Nov 14, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phil Mickelson reacts after making his putt on the 18th hole to win the final round of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship golf tournament at Phoenix Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

We don’t know yet if Phil Mickelson will actually play in the 2022 PGA Championship now that the PGA has denied its members permission to play in the Saudi-funded LIV golf tournament in London next month. But if he does decide to play, officials are concerned about the potential for a “circus” surrounding his return to the golf course.

Mickelson hasn’t competed in a PGA Tour event since the Farmers Insurance Open in January and missed his first Masters Tournament since 1994 following disturbing comments about human rights violations in Saudi Arabia. Along with losing some notable sponsors, he decided to take a break from golf and the public eye.

Mickelson recently applied to play in the PGA Championship as well as the LIV Golf event series in London. Now, it sounds like he’ll have to pick one or the other.

In the meantime, the PGA Championship gets underway next week and PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh recently appeared on the “Five Clubs” podcast and discussed the potential for distractions and a circus-type environment if Lefty makes his return to golf at their event.

“I hope what we can do is have that [the press conference] before the flag goes up,” Waugh said. “The idea is if he does play, and if he’s able to and allowed to… he would certainly have to face the media. But I hope it’s Monday or Tuesday… What we’re trying to do is deliver a major championship, not a circus.”

Good luck with that, Seth. Given that Mickelson hasn’t done any interviews or made public appearances since the controversy only add fuel to the fire for whenever he re-emerges. And if that happens at the PGA Championship, expect a circus whether you want one or not.

Mickelson won the PGA Championship in 2005 and 2021.

[Five Clubs]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to