Both defending champion Phil Mickelson and fifteen-time major winner Tiger Woods have been confirmed as members of the 156-man strong field that will compete for the upcoming US PGA Championship in Oklahoma. Mickelson, who has been on a hiatus from the sport and Woods, who recently returned to action, will likely be fancied by some as outsiders to win the tournament.
The US PGA Championship is the second major of 2022, and Mickelson, 51, will be aiming to get back to winning ways, having not played since February 2021. It proved to be an important year for Mickelson and for golf, with the American having written his name into the record books for being the oldest major champion following success at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course. After making comments in the media last February, things went on a downward spiral for the Californian, but he’s determined to bounce back in style.
Woods, on the other hand, is just happy to be back playing, having returned to action at the Masters. 2021 saw the sporting great come close to losing his right leg following a car crash. He’s now looking to the future and has set a target of playing The Open at St Andrews in July. After being named amongst the 156 for Oklahoma, Woods will make a decision on whether to play in due course, and it will come down to his physical condition. But, the good news is that he played a practice round on the course recently.
In terms of their chances to win, Mickelson and Woods are very much rank outsiders. Yes, Mickelson is the defending champion, and he managed to beat off competition from the likes of Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen, but nobody expects him to make it back to back wins, primarily due to the length of time he has spent away from the sport.
One thing that will undoubtedly stand Woods in good stead ahead of and during the competition is that he's overcome the odds multiple times in his life and career so far. Many people didn't expect to see Woods play golf again at a professional level, but he is, and even though the odds of victory are stacked against him, he's still in with a chance. You can never write Tiger Woods off, after all.
Other players who will be jockeying for position include former Masters champion Jordan Speith. The Texan has a record in his sights, with another victory here seeing him become one of only six men to have secured all four major titles. If this is going to become a distinct possibility, Spieth must improve his putting.
Masters champion Scottie Scheffler, meanwhile, will start the event as a firm favourite. 2022 has been an excellent year for him, stepping into the world number one slot and disposing of Jon Rahm in the process. Scheffler has also proven himself at the US PGA before, and while he hasn't won it yet, he's the man to beat.