Phil Mickelson and three other golfers drop out of antitrust suit against PGA Tour

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Team Captain Phil Mickelson of Hy Flyers GC is seen on the 18th tee during Day Two of the LIV Golf Invitational – Chicago at Rich Harvest Farms on September 17, 2022 in Sugar Grove, Illinois.
Chris Trotman | LIV Golf | Getty Images

Phil Mickelson and three other LIV golfers have dropped out of an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour.

Mickelson and 10 other LIV-affiliated players had filed a suit against the PGA Tour in August after the tour suspended them for their participation in the rival LIV Golf league. The suit alleged the PGA Tour’s suspensions were anti-competitive.

Jonathan Grella, an LIV Golf representative, said the merits of the suit still stand and LIV will continue to pursue the case.

The PGA Tour declined to comment.

Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Ian Poulter also dismissed their claims against the PGA Tour, according to a court filing Tuesday with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Mickelson dismissed his claim in a separate filing.

“With LIV’s involvement in these issues, the players’ rights will be protected, and I no longer feel it is necessary for me to be part of the proceedings,” Mickelson said in a statement provided through LIV Golf.

The three other players also signaled their confidence that LIV was adequately pursuing the antitrust claims.

The Justice Department is also probing the PGA Tour for its possible antitrust violations tied to LIV Golf.

When the lawsuit was initially filed, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan stood by the decision to suspend the LIV-affiliated players.

“To allow reentry into our events compromises the TOUR and the competition, to the detriment of our organization, our players, our partners and our fans,” Monahan wrote in a memo to tour members.

LIV Golf has also been subject of scrutiny. The league is funded in part by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, which is controlled by Saudi Arabia’s crown prince. Mickelson has been criticized for his affiliation with the kingdom and has acknowledged the human rights offenses committed by the country.

Critics have also called the league an attempt at “sportswashing” to improve the image of Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this month, LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman visited Capitol Hill to “educate members on LIV’s business model and counter the Tour’s anti-competitive efforts,” according to Grella.

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