Phil Mickelson, the face of a federal antitrust case on the PGA Tour, along with three other LIV golfers have dropped out of the lawsuit.
On Aug. 3, he was among 11 golfers who sued the PGA Tour, saying the tour had hurt their careers by banning them from PGA events and halting LIV Golf’s efforts to start a tournament league.
Now only three golfers remain: Bryson DeChambeau, Matt Jones and Peter Uihlein. LIV Golf, the controversial Saudi-funded start-up that has boosted the world of professional golf, was not initially part of the case, but He joined the lawsuit on August 26.
“I’m focused on moving forward and I’m excited to be a part of LIV, and grateful for my time on tour,” Mickelson said in a statement. “I am happy that the players on tour are finally being heard, respected and respected and are benefiting from the changes that have recently been implemented. The players’ rights are protected by LIV’s involvement in these matters and I do not feel it is necessary for me to be a part of the process.”
By filing the lawsuit at an early stage, players will not have the same level of exposure to discovery, and LIV Golf has emerged as the primary court adversary as it pursues the PGA Tour’s antitrust claims.
“Nothing has changed. Levi’s Golf spokesman Jonathan Grella said the merits of the case — the PGA Tour’s anti-competitive behavior — will still stand and be fully tested in court. “And we’re looking forward to that. LIV stands with the players that the PGA Tour has shown us weak, but we recognize that we no longer need a wide variety of players to dress in order to be successful.”
Two of the players who dropped out of the lawsuit Tuesday — Gooch and Swafford — sought a temporary restraining order in the case after unsuccessfully trying to get into the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs. U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman denied their request Last month, the players said it was an “irreparable injury” after they failed to show up for the tour season.
“Now that we’re past the PGA Tour season and LIV is involved in these important issues, it’s not important for me to be a part of it,” Swafford said in a statement. “I believe this case demonstrates the anti-competitive nature of the PGA Tour.”
Four other plaintiffs from the original complaint dropped the suit last month: Abraham Anser, Jason Kokrak, Pat Perez and Carlos Ortiz.
The PGA Tour has denied the antitrust charges and is expected to file its formal response to LIV Golf’s amended complaint this week. The trial is scheduled to begin in January 2024.
The LIV Golf Invitational Series will host its sixth event next week in Bangkok. Since LIV launched earlier this year, it has been the PGA Tour’s biggest hit, landing several of the PGA Tour’s biggest names with eight- and nine-figure contracts. He was forced to make significant changesIncreasing tournament purses, improving the bonus system and ensuring that the top 20 players compete in at least 20 events, including the four majors and the FedEx Cup playoffs.