The PGA of America on Monday afternoon released the field list for the 104th PGA Championship at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma, next month.
Tiger Woods and defending champion Phil Mickelson are on the list, along with 16 other PGA champions, although there’s no guarantee that Woods, especially, will play.
Mickelson, 51, had one top-10 finish last season, but he made it count, winning the PGA Championship at Kiawah. He has 45 PGA TOUR victories, including six majors, and was last seen in action missing the cut at his hometown Farmers Insurance Open in late January.
Woods, who nearly lost his right leg in a single-car accident in Los Angeles early last year, returned to competition at the Masters Tournament at hilly Augusta National last month. He opened with an encouraging, 1-under 71 but faded from there, his limp becoming ever more pronounced as he struggled to a 78-78 weekend. He finished 47th and committed to playing the 150th Open Championship at the notably flat Old Course at St. Andrews in July.
“I don’t quite have the endurance that I would like to have had,” Woods said at the Masters, “but as of a few weeks ago, didn’t even know if I was going to play in this event.
“To go from that to here,” he continued, “we’re excited about the prospects of the future, about training, about getting into that gym and doing some other stuff to get my leg stronger, which we haven’t been able to do because it needed more time to heal. I think it needs a couple more days to heal after this, but we’ll get back after it, and we’ll get into it.”
He called his performance at Augusta National one of the most memorable of his career, thanked doctors for saving his leg, and praised physical therapists for helping him return to high-level competition. As for the PGA, he said he would have to wait and see how he feels, even though Southern Hills was the site of his fourth PGA Championship victory in 2007. It has since been updated by Gil Hanse, and will be hosting the PGA Championship for the fifth time, more than any other course.
The full field won’t be set until May 9, after the final round of the Wells Fargo Championship, and will include anyone in the top 70 in PGA Championship points not already qualified.