Six-time major champion Phil Mickelson said Thursday that he’s considering removing his name from LIV Golf’s federal antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour.
Mickelson was among 11 golfers who sued the PGA Tour on Aug. 3, alleging that they had improperly been suspended for playing in LIV Golf events and that the PGA Tour was using its monopoly power to suppress competition.
LIV Golf joined its players as a plaintiff in the lawsuit on Aug. 27.
“I haven’t done anything yet, but now that LIV is involved, it’s not necessary for me to be a part of it,” Mickelson said after playing in Thursday’s LIV Golf pro-am at Rich Harvest Farms. “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.”
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Mickelson has been at the center of LIV Golf’s ongoing battle with the PGA Tour for the best players in the world. He was among the first players to sign with LIV, which is financed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and fronted by two-time Open winner Greg Norman.
Mickelson had complained of the PGA Tour’s “obnoxious greed” and argued that professional golfers were free agents who should be able to play wherever they wanted.
“I do think that it’s important that players have the right to be able to play when and where they want and when and where they’ve qualified for,” Mickelson said. “Now that LIV is a part of [the lawsuit], that will be accomplished if and when they win.”
Mickelson’s controversial comments to author Alan Shipnuck about the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabians caused him to spend four months away from golf. The lawsuit said Mickelson was first suspended for two months by the PGA Tour on March 22 for “attempting to recruit players to [LIV Golf].” An appeals committee upheld Mickelson’s suspension. His request for reinstatement about two months later was denied because he had played in the first LIV Golf event in London.
“The Tour’s unlawful conduct cost Mickelson endorsement deals and sponsorships,” the lawsuit said. “Notably, the Tour is the only golf tour shown regularly on broadcast television in the United States, and it earns vastly more in sponsorship, advertising, and broadcast revenue than any other golf tour.”
Four players who were originally plaintiffs in the lawsuit — Abraham Ancer, Carlos Ortiz, Pat Perez and Jason Kokrak — are no longer involved in the case.
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