PGA Championship 2022: A travel COVID issue forces Sungjae Im out of Southern Hills
Sungjae Im has withdrawn from the 2022 PGA Championship.
Late last week Im, 24, tested positive for COVID-19 and had to pull out of the Woori Financial Group Championship, held in South Korea. It was supposed to be the first time since 2019 that Im had played in his native country. Due to South Korea health and safety protocols, Im is unable to travel to the United States in time to compete for the Wanamaker, held this year at Southern Hills.
Im has been playing well this season, highlighted by winning the Shriners Children's Open and posting a top-10 finish at the Masters. He entered the week 10th in the FedEx Cup and ranked 12th in strokes gained. This would have been his fifth career PGA Championship start.
Im is now the highest-ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking (No. 20 entering the week) that will not be competing in the PGA Championship, and joins Paul Casey, Harris English and Phil Mickelson as the only players ranked inside the OWGR top 100 who will be sidelined at Southern Hills. Casey dropped out of the PGA on Sunday morning as he battles lingering back issues while English withdrew on Friday, his body not ready for a full 18 holes following hip surgery. Mickelson declined to defend his PGA Championship title, continuing his sabbatical from golf.
Taking Im’s place in the field is Scott Stallings. It is only the second major championship appearance since 2014 for Stallings and his fifth career PGA start. Joel Dahmen is now the first alternate.