SUGAR GROVE, Ill. – Phil Mickelson is considering dropping out of the antitrust lawsuit that several LIV Golf players filed against the PGA Tour in early August and has a trial date set for January of 2024,
Mickelson, 52, said Thursday following the pro-am at the LIV Golf Invitational Series Chicago event that he has not decided yet how he will proceed but that LIV Golf having joined the suit several weeks ago is part of his thinking.
“Now that LIV is involved, it’s not necessary for me to be involved,’’ Mickelson said at Rich Harvest Farms. “I currently still am. I don’t know what I’m going to do, really.
“The only reason for me to stay in is (monetary) damages, which I don’t really want or need anything. I do think it’s important that the players have the right to play when and where they want, when and where they qualify for. And now that LIV is a part of it, that will be accomplished if and when they win.’’
Mickelson told Sports Illustrated in an interview two weeks ago that he was trying to move on; it appears that dropping from the lawsuit would help him accomplish that goal.
“I have moved on,’’ Mickelson said in the interview prior to the LIV Golf Boston event. “I’m going in a different direction and really trying to help take LIV Golf to where I think it go. What it provides is an opportunity to take world-class golf globally.’’
Mickelson is part of the antitrust lawsuit originally brought by 11 players that was also joined by Bryson DeChambeau. Three of the players—Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones—sought a temporary restraining order that would have allowed them to compete in the FedEx Cup playoffs.
It is believed that part of Mickelson’s thinking was to support those players in pursuit of the temporary injunction.
They argued that they had qualified for the season-ending series based on their play, but a U.S. district judge denied the motion, siding with the PGA Tour.
Previously, Carlos Ortiz and Pat Perez had dropped out of the lawsuit, and Jason Kokrak and Abraham Ancer also left the suit in an amended filing in late August.
That leaves Mickelson, DeChambeau, Gooch, Swafford, Jones, Ian Poulter and Peter Uihlein.
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).’’
Four LIV Golf events have been played thus far, with tournaments near London, Portland, Oregon, New York City and Boston. This week’s Chicago event is one of four remaining on the schedule.
LIV Golf has offered lucrative signing bonuses to players and $25 million purses each week with an added team component among the 48 players competing. All players who were PGA Tour members were indefinitely suspended by the PGA Tour upon playing in their first LIV event and had 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.’’