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Report: Phil Mickelson, More LIV Golfers Leave Antitrust Lawsuit Against PGA Tour

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 27, 2022

BOLTON, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 02: Team Captain Phil Mickelson of Hy Flyers GC looks on from the eighth tee during Day One of the LIV Golf Invitational - Boston at The Oaks Golf Course at The International on September 02, 2022 in Bolton, Massachusetts. (Photo by Chris Trotman/LIV Golf via Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/LIV Golf via Getty Images

Phil Mickelson, Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Ian Poulter requested to remove themselves from the antitrust complaint filed against the PGA Tour, according to Eric Prisbell of Sports Business Journal.

ESPN's Mark Schlabach provided a statement from LIV Golf spokesman Jonathan Grella, who said the development doesn't alter the ongoing case:

"Nothing has changed. The merits of the case β€”  the PGA Tour's anti-competitive conduct β€” still stand and will be fully tested in court. And we look forward to that. LIV stands with the players whom the PGA Tour has treated so poorly, but we also recognize that to be successful, we no longer need a wide array of players to be on the suit. We have our players' backs and will press our case against the PGA Tour's anti-competitive behavior."

Mickelson indicated weeks earlier he was weighing whether to continue being a part of the suit.

"I haven't done anything yet, but now that LIV is involved, it's not necessary for me to be a part of it," he said on Sept. 15, per Schlabach. "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."

The six-time major champion was one of 11 golfers who filed the federal antitrust suit against the PGA Tour in August.

The lawsuit came after the Wall Street Journal's Louise Radnofsky and Andrew Beaton reported in July the Department of Justice was examining whether the PGA Tour violated any antitrust laws.

Among their claims, the plaintiffs in the suit allege the tour "threatened" golfers who pursued a move to LIV and applied pressure to other outside parties "to coerce players to abandon opportunities to play in LIV Golf events." The golfers also believe the indefinite suspension they received from the PGA Tour has damaged their careers.

The PGA Tour earned a minor legal victory on Aug. 9, when a federal judge declined to grant a temporary restraining order to Gooch, Swafford and Matt Jones that would've allowed them to compete in the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

District Court Judge Beth Freeman determined the contracts the three signed with LIV Golf were "based upon players calculation of what they were leaving behind." As a result, they couldn't prove they were unduly harmed.

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