PGA Championship 2023: Sergio Garcia's absence ends one of the most impressive streaks in golf
The PGA of America announced its field for next week’s PGA Championship on Wednesday, a field of 155 (with one spot saved for the winner of the AT&T Byron Nelson Winner) that features 18 LIV Golf members. But there’s one LIV Golf player who won’t be there, and his absence breaks an impressive streak.
Sergio Garcia will not contend for the Wanamaker Trophy at Oak Hill. The 43-year-old Spaniard failed to qualify for the championship through its more than a dozen criteria and did not receive a special invite to round out the field. In itself this was not a surprise; Garcia is No. 189 in the Official World Golf Ranking. But in the context of his career it is a shock, as next week will mark the first time Garcia has not been eligible to play in a major championship since 1999.
“Eligible” is the operative word; Garcia did not play in the 2020 Masters due to testing positive for COVID-19. Still, it’s a stretch that underlines Garcia’s consistency, with the streak starting at the 1999 Open Championship. Garcia’s second major start in that span was the 1999 PGA Championship, which featured a then 19-year-old Garcia memorably dueling down the stretch Tiger Woods at Medinah, Woods ultimately winning the Wanamaker.
Garcia owns 23 top-10 finishes at major championships, highlighted by his breakthrough at the 2017 Masters. However, his five-year exemption into the PGA for winning the Masters ran out two years ago, and since earning the green jacket, Garcia has missed the cut in 14 of 22 major starts and failed to crack the top 15 in any of those appearances.
Garcia could have received a special invite from the PGA of America, but given his numerous battles with golf’s establishment—including being the only LIV player who has not paid his DP World Tour fine for defecting to the Saudi-backed circuit—it’s not a shock that Garcia was left in the cold. It’s worth noting there’s not a LIV bias in the PGA rounding out its field, however, as Paul Casey, ranked No. 131 in the OWGR, was one of the players to receive a special invite. Along with Casey, other LIV Golf players in next week’s PGA Championship field are Abraham Ancer, Dean Burmester, Bryson DeChambeau, Talor Gooch, Dustin Johnson, Martin Kaymer, Sihwan Kim, Brooks Koepka, Anirban Lahiri, Phil Mickelson, Joaquin Niemann, Mito Pereira, Thomas Pieters, Patrick Reed, Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele and Harold Varner III.
And for those scoring at home, while Garcia’s streak was impressive, it was nowhere close to Jack Nicklaus’ record of making 146 consecutive major championship starts.
Will Zalatoris, who is out for the season with a back injury, is the only player in the OWGR top 100 not in the PGA Championship field. Tiger Woods is also not in the field after recently undergoing surgery. The PGA Championship begins May 18. Justin Thomas is the defending champion.