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Rory Has Softened His Opinion On Phil: Golf World Reacts

A closeup of Rory McIlroy

CHARLOTTE, NC - MAY 06: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks off the third tee during the final round of the 2018 Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club on May 6, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

One of the biggest stories heading into the PGA Championship is that Phil Mickelson won't be competing in this year's event. 

Mickelson officially withdrew from the 2022 PGA Championship on Friday. He has been away from the PGA Tour for a few months now. 

When discussing Mickelson's absence at Southern Hills, Rory McIlroy said it's "unfortunate" for the sport. 

"This should be a celebration, right?" McIlroy said. "He won a major championship at 50 years old. It was possibly his last big, big moment in the game of golf. I think he should be here this week and celebrating what a monumental achievement he achieved last year."

Golf fans were quick to notice that McIlroy's stance on Mickelson's situation has changed. 

Back in February, McIlroy didn't hold back when asked about Mickelson's comments regarding the Saudi-backed golf league. 

"I don't want to kick someone while he's down obviously, but I thought they were naive, selfish, egotistical, ignorant," McIlroy told reporters.

Some fans are questioning why McIlroy's stance on Mickelson has changed. 

There are a few fans who believe Mickelson's absence is a direct result of players like McIlroy calling him out.

At this point, no one knows when we'll see Mickelson back on the PGA Tour. 

The PGA Championship will officially begin this Thursday.