Top 100s in field for Oak Hill at PGA Championship include 99s, no Sergio Garcia

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The PGA Championship stuck to its mission to field the strongest field of the four majors, announcing Wednesday a field that includes 99 of the top 100 in the world rankings, regardless of which tour they play.

Missing from the 155-player list is Sergio Garcia, a former Masters champion who was eligible for every major dating back to the 1999 British Open at Carnoustie.

PGA of America chief championship officer Kerry Haigh said in February that players from tours would be considered to build a strong field, and he gave a field that doesn't look that different from previous years.

The PGA Championship begins May 18 at Oak Hill, just outside Rochester, New York.

The field features 18 players from the Saudi-funded LIV Golf – the same number from the 89-man field at the Masters last month.

That includes Phil Mickelson, who at age 50 became the Major champion when he won the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. He missed his title defense last year while serving after his inflammatory comments about both the Saudis and the .

The only player not ranked in the top 100 who is not in the field is Will Zalatoris, who is ranked No. 9 in the world and is out for the rest of the season after undergoing on his lower back. Tiger Woods is also not playing, as ankle surgery last month could keep him out of the next two majors.

LIV Golf still does not receive Official World Golf Ranking points for its 48-man field and 54-hole events while its application is under review. Several players ranked outside the top 100 were not invited – Cameron Tringale (103), Jason Kokerk (110), Sebastian Munoz (111) and Kevin Na (117).

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Kokrak, Na and former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen (163) were at the Masters from breaking into the top 50 at the end of last year. Oosthuizen, the runner-up at Kiawah Island two years earlier, was eligible for every major dating until 2009.

Garcia's history in the majors goes back another decade. The last time he didn't qualify for the US Open was in 1999 – he was 19 and in his second month as a pro. Garcia did not take part in the 2020 Masters held in November because he was found infected with the corona virus. The Spaniard is currently ranked No. 189 in the world.

The PGA of America does not say what constitutes a special invitation, although it made one to Webb Simpson (No. 150 in the world rankings) and LIV player Paul Casey (131).

Casey finished tied for fourth at the PGA Championship in 2021 and hasn't returned since last year after being sidelined for four months with a back .

Next in line would be Alex Smalley, who was born in Rochester. Smalley is ranked No. 102 in the world and was overtaken by Byron Nelson earlier this week.

Justin Thomas is the defending champion. He rallied from seven shots behind at Southern Hills last year to beat Zaltoris in a three-hole aggregate playoff. It was the second PGA title for Thomas.

Other players to receive special invitations were Danish twins Nicolai and Rasmus Højgaard, both ranked in the top 115 of the world rankings. Rikuya Hoshino (No. 125) was exempted. He finished second on the Japan Golf Tour money list last year.

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The only major champions of the last 10 years who are not on the PGA Championship are Garcia (2017 Masters), Henrik Stenson (2016 British Open) and Bubba Watson (2014 Masters), all with LIV Golf.

The PGA of America extended the invitation to Francesco Molinari, whose five-year exemption from winning the 2018 British Open expired last year. Molinari missed the 2020 PGA Championship because he did not play the entire summer while riding out the with his family in London. He is now ranked No. 132 in the world.


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