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Pat Perez Drops Out of LIV Golfers' Lawsuit Against PGA Tour

Morning Read on Sports Illustrated 8/19/2022 Bob Harig

Perez was one of the 11 LIV golfers named as plaintiffs against the PGA Tour, but said Friday he as "no ill feelings toward the PGA Tour" and that he has removed himself from the lawsuit.

WILMINGTON, Del. – Pat Perez has dropped out of the antitrust lawsuit that 11 LIV Golf players originally brought against the PGA Tour and that saw a trial date set for January of 2024.

Perez, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour who signed a four-year deal to play with LIV Golf prior to the second event in Portland, confirmed to Sports Illustrated on Friday that he originally joined out of loyalty to the other players who are fighting their suspensions handed down by the PGA Tour.

“I have no ill feelings toward the PGA Tour or any of the players,’’ Perez said in a phone interview. “I’m a LIV guy 100 percent. I’m going to play for them. But I don’t feel any need to go after the PGA Tour. They gave me a wonderful opportunity for 21 years. I’ve got nothing against them, no hard feelings toward anybody. I earned everything I got out there, don’t get me wrong.

“I chose to leave and I’m not looking to come back. I’d like to maybe play the Champions Tour one day if that can work out and that’s why I have not given up my membership. But there is no benefit to doing this. I have an unbelievable deal with LIV and I’m behind them 100 percent.’’

Pat Perez has earned $1,804,000 in two events with LIV Golf. © Provided by Morning Read on Sports Illustrated Pat Perez has earned $1,804,000 in two events with LIV Golf.

Perez, 46, is a three-time winner on the PGA Tour who turned pro in 1997 and has earned more than $28 million in prize money. He admitted that he “can’t beat these young kids anymore’’ and said the LIV opportunity was too good to pass up.

He signed for four years and was paid a signing bonus up front. He’s played in two events and earned $1,804,000 – with $1.5 million of it coming because he was twice on the winning team.

Perez acknowledged “I didn’t really think it through,’’ when he decided to join the lawsuit. “I did it to back our guys.’’

There were 11 LIV players who filed a complaint in early August, led by Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau. Three of the players – Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones – sought a temporary restraining order that would allow them to compete in the FedEx Cup playoffs.

The players argued that they had met the Tour’s requirements of playing 15 events and also played well enough to qualify for the playoffs.

The Tour has suspended anyone who participates in LIV events indefinitely, which prohibits them from competing in any PGA Tour events, including the Presidents Cup.

A U.S. district judge denied the motion, siding with the Tour. At the time, Carlos Ortiz had dropped out of the lawsuit.

In a hearing Thursday, judge Beth L. Freeman set a date for summary judgment of July 23, 2023, with a trial date set for Jan. 8, 2024. LIV Golf had pushed for those dates to be earlier.

During the hearing, PGA Tour lawyers noted that nine players were part of the suit, meaning one had dropped out, although Perez was not named.

“The whole thing is unfortunate,’’ Perez said. “I think it’s bad for the game.’’

Perez has said previously that he believes PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan should take a call from LIV CEO and commissioner Greg Norman. He believed something could be worked out that would benefit all players.

But he’s not sure it is possible now. A group of 20-plus players including Tiger Woods met in Delaware on Tuesday to discuss ways to improve the PGA Tour, with hopes of averting more defections to LIV Golf.

“It’s too deep; it’s too ugly now,’’ Perez said of the possibility of working out a plan. “I don’t see it happening anymore. There’s just too much on both sides and it’s gotten ugly. I just don’t see a resolution, unfortunately. There was a time I did.’’

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