Phil Mickelson Considering Exiting LIV Golf's Antitrust Lawsuit Against PGA Tour

Erin WalshSeptember 15, 2022

SUGAR GROVE, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 15: Team Captain Phil Mickelson of Hy Flyers GC plays a shot on the driving range during the pro-am prior to the LIV Golf Invitational - Chicago at Rich Harvest Farms on September 15, 2022 in Sugar Grove, Illinois. (Photo by Chris Trotman/LIV Golf via Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/LIV Golf via Getty Images

Phil Mickelson may no longer be a part of LIV Golf's lawsuit against the PGA Tour.

Mickelson said Thursday he is considering removing his name from the Saudi-backed league's federal antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour, according to ESPN's Mark Schlabach:

"I haven't done anything yet, but now that LIV is involved, it's not necessary for me to be a part of it. I currently still am [part of the lawsuit]. I don't know what I'm really going to do. The only reason for me to stay in it is damages, which, I don't really want or need anything."

On June 9, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan suspended 17 players, including Mickelson, who is a six-time major champion, from competing in PGA Tour events after they played in LIV Golf's inaugural event at the Centurion Club in London.

Mickelson and 10 other LIV Golf players filed suit against the PGA Tour last month after they were suspended for joining the breakaway circuit. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California for the purpose of challenging the bans and other restrictions placed on players.

In addition, the lawsuit alleges that the PGA Tour engaged in "anticompetitive behavior" to control its hold on professional golf.

Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones were also seeking a temporary restraining order as part of the lawsuit so they could compete in the FedEx Cup playoffs. However, a federal judge denied the request.

LIV Golf joined the lawsuit against the PGA Tour as a plaintiff on Aug. 27.

Mickelson would be the fifth player to remove his name from the lawsuit, joining Carlos Ortiz, Abraham Ancer, Pat Perez and Jason Kokrak, who did so last month.

Mickelson has been one of the faces of LIV Golf and was one of the first players to join the Saudi-backed league, which reportedly paid him $200 million to ditch the PGA Tour, per Brentley Romine of Golf Channel.

He has been heavily criticized for joining LIV Golf and, before joining, the 52-year-old made controversial comments about the Saudi Arabians who are funding the breakaway circuit via their private investment fund, while speaking with author Alan Shipnuck, per Schlabach:

"They're scary motherf--kers to get involved with. ... They killed [Washington Post reporter and U.S. resident Jamal] Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights. They execute people over there for being gay. Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates."

The Saudi Arabian government has a history of human rights abuses and has been accused of "sportswashing," an attempt to improve its image through athletics.