Phil Mickelson among four other LIV golf players dropping PGA Tour lawsuit

Four players, including Phil Mickelson, have dropped an antitrust lawsuit brought against the PGA Tour by LIV Golf players.

Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Talor Gooch and Hudson Swafford were among an original 11-person group seeking punitive damages as well as a temporary injunction that would have allowed Gooch, Swafford and Matt Jones to participate in the FedEx playoffs Cup.

That injunction was denied by a U.S. District Court in Northern California last month.

Previously, Carlos Ortiz, Pat Perez, Jason Kokrak and Abraham Ancer also left the suit.

That leaves only Jones, Bryson DeChambeau and Peter Uihlein. LIV Golf as an entity joined the lawsuit in late August. The trial is due to begin in January 2024.

“Nothing has changed,” LIV Golf said in a statement. “The merits of the lawsuit – the PGA Tour’s anti-competitive conduct – still stands and will be fully tested in court, and we look forward to it.

“We support the players that the PGA Tour has treated so poorly, but we also recognize that to be successful we no longer need a wide variety of players to be on the suit. We have our players’ backs and will take our case to court against the PGA’s anti-competitive conduct.

LIV Golf was not part of the original lawsuit but has now joined and said it was only able to launch the LIV Golf Invitational Series “in the face of super competitive costs and artificially reduced access to (players)” .

Five LIV Golf events have been played so far, with tournaments near London, Portland, New York, Boston and Chicago. He will play events in Bangkok and Jeddah before concluding with a season-ending tag team championship in Miami at the end of October.

LIV Golf offered lucrative player signing bonuses and $25 million in scholarships each week with an added team component among the 48 players competing. All players who have played in an event have been indefinitely suspended by the PGA Tour and had their membership revoked for the 2022-23 season.

LIV Golf asked the court to award “punitive damages for the PGA Tour’s bad faith and gross interference in LIV Golf’s contractual and prospective business relationships.”

“I am focused on the future and extremely happy to be a part of LIV, while also grateful for my time on the (PGA) Tour,” Mickelson said in a statement. “I am happy that Tour players are finally being heard, respected and valued and benefiting from the changes recently put in place.

“With LIV’s involvement in these matters, the rights of the players will be protected and I no longer feel there is a need for me to be part of the proceedings.”

Says Poulter, who was part of a DP World Tour package that currently allows LIV players to compete on that tour, “I’m extremely happy to be a part of LIV. Now that I’m no longer a member of the PGA, and with LIV’s involvement in these important matters, I have decided to relinquish my involvement in this matter. I am confident that LIV will be successful in making the case.”

Michael C. Ford