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After Phil Mickelson, three other LIV golfers drop out of lawsuit against PGA Tour, there are only three plaintiffs remaining

Golfweek 9/27/2022 Tim Schmitt
© Provided by Golfweek

Phil Mickelson was one of 11 golfers who sued the PGA Tour for antitrust violations back in August. Before the most recent LIV Golf event at Rich Harvest Farms outside of Chicago, however, the 45-time PGA Tour winner hinted that he might be leaving the suit.

“Now that LIV (Golf) is involved, it’s not necessary for me to be involved,’’ Mickelson said on September 16. “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 (Golf) is a part of it, that will be accomplished if and when they win.’’

On Tuesday in a federal court in California, Mickelson filed a voluntary dismissal dropping him from the suit. He wasn’t alone. Ian Poulter, Talor Gooch and Hudson Swafford also filed similar dismissals on Tuesday.

Of the original 11 plaintiffs, only three now remain: Bryson DeChambeau, Matt Jones and Peter Uihlein.

“Nothing has changed. 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,” LIV officials said in a released statement. “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.”

Although Mickelson’s name is no longer part of the suit, he may still be part of the proceedings moving forward.

There has been much posturing in advance of the antitrust suit that’s scheduled to take place in early 2024.

For example, LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman was in Washington, D.C., lobbying on behalf of his Saudi Arabia-backed breakaway golf league last week while PGA Tour players were playing in the Presidents Cup. This after a June report from Wall Street Journal that suggested the Department of Justice is investigating whether the PGA Tour engaged in anticompetitive behavior against LIV Golf.

During Norman’s recent visit to the Capitol for a meeting with the Republican Study Committee — which is considered the largest conservative caucus in the House — Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) called Norman’s appearance “propaganda” before walking out of the meeting.

Meanwhile, the PGA Tour sent the U.S. District Court of Northern California a 32-page response to the initial lawsuit back in August, plus a separate seven-page example of what it calls mischaracterizations and mistruths presented by the LIV players.

LIV Golf has long been criticized as a way for the Kingdom to sportswash its human rights record with guaranteed money and multi-million dollar deals. Saudi Arabia has been accused of wide-ranging human rights abuses, including politically motivated killings, torture, forced disappearances and inhumane treatment of prisoners. And members of the royal family and Saudi government were accused of involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist.

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