Four players, including Phil Mickelson, have dropped from an antitrust lawsuit filed against the PGA Tour by LIV Golf players.
Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Talor Gooch and Hudson Swafford were part of an original group of 11 who sought punitive damages as well as a temporary injunction that would have allowed Gooch, Swafford and Matt Jones to compete in the FedEx Cup playoffs.
That injunction was denied in a U.S. district court in North California last month.
That leaves just Jones, Bryson DeChambeau and Peter Uihlein. LIV Golf as an entity joined the suit in late August. The trial is scheduled 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 stand and will be fully tested in court, and we look forward to it.
“We stand by the players who the PGA Tour has treated so poorly, but we also recognize to be successful we no longer need a wide variety of players to be on the suit. We have our players’ backs and will press our case in court against the PGA’s anti-competitive behavior.”
LIV Golf was not part of the original lawsuit but has now joined and said it has been able to launch the LIV Golf Invitational Series only “in the face of super-competitive costs and artificially reduced access to (players).’’
Five LIV Golf events have been played thus far, with tournaments near London, Portland, New York, Boston and Chicago. It will play events in Bangkok and Jeddah before concluding with a season-ending Team Championship in Miami at the end of October.
LIV Golf has offered lucrative signing bonuses to players and $25 million purses each week with an added team component among the 48 players who compete. All players who have played in an event have been indefinitely suspended by the PGA Tour and saw their memberships revoked for the 2022-23 season.
LIV Golf has asked the court to award “punitive damage for the PGA Tour’s bad faith and egregious interference with LIV Golf’s contractual and perspective business relationships.’’
“I am focused on moving forward and extremely happy being a part of LIV, while also grateful for my time on the (PGA) Tour,’’ Mickelson said in a statement. “I am pleased that the players on Tour are finally being heard, respected and valued and are benefitting from the changes recently implemented.
“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.’’
Said Poulter, who was part of a filing brought about the DP World Tour that is for now allowing LIV players to compete on that circuit, “I am extremely happy being a part of LIV. Now that I’m no longer a member of the PGA, and with LIV’s involvement in these important issues, I have decided to forego my involvement in this matter. I have faith LIV will successfully make the legal case.’’