Why a former World No. 1 is skipping the PGA — and playing 2 LIV events

Martin Kaymer hits a shot on Saturday at the LIV Golf event in Tulsa.

Getty Images

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Martin Kaymer says he doesn’t think he can play three tournaments in a row. So he’s skipping the one in the middle. 

Which is also the PGA Championship, where he won the first of his two major championships 13 years ago. 

Kaymer’s withdrawal announcement from the PGA of America came Friday afternoon, six days ahead of the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club. Notably, Friday was also the first day of LIV Golf’s event in Tulsa, Okla., where Kaymer was playing as a member of the series. And Kaymer also plans to play the next tournament for the Saudi-backed series, scheduled for next week in Washington, D.C. 

All of which begs the question: Why miss a major?

On Friday, in an interview with Mike McAllister, the editorial director for LIV Golf, Kaymer said he was still recovering from a left-wrist surgery he underwent last November — and that he didn’t have “the mindset of I can actually win the golf tournament.” Kaymer missed LIV’s first three events this year, and he has played the past three, finishing 46th out of 48 players in the middle of last month in Australia; 44th out of 48 at the end of last month in Singapore; and 41st out of 48 in Tulsa. 

Below is the complete quote from Kaymer, which McAllister tweeted out Friday night:

“I talked to my manager about it, and I don’t know if he pulled me out already or not. I don’t think I will be able to play three weeks in a row after the surgery. Obviously I play this week and I would like to play in Washington as well. So I was thinking about it, to skip the PGA Championship. 

“I haven’t said to my manager 100 percent. I don’t know what he has done, but I don’t believe he has pulled me out yet. 

“I’m playing good. It’s just a matter of I would like to go there with the mindset of I can actually win the golf tournament. I don’t have that yet. I have not been practicing at all for the last six months. I’ve only been putting and chipping and I only hit golf shots during the tournament. So that is enough to beat the best players in the world.”

Could Kaymer have skipped either the Tulsa or Washington events? It’s unclear. 

Notably, in a story by the Wall Street Journal last August that examined the contracts of LIV golfers, players are expected to play in all of LIV’s events. (There were eight last year, and 14 this year.) The story also reported that LIV players would be rewarded a $1 million bonus should they win a major championship. 

Replacing Kaymer in the field is Callum Tarren. The former World No. 1 is one of three players to withdraw — Jason Dufner, who won the PGA the last time it was played at Oak Hill, pulled out on Friday, and he was replaced by David Lingmerth; and John Daly, the 1991 PGA champ, WD’d on Monday, and Stephan Jaeger took his spot.   

Golf Magazine

Subscribe To The Magazine

Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.