SUGAR GROVE, Ill. – Six-time Grand Slam champion Phil Mickelson said Thursday that he is considering removing his name from LIV Golf’s federal antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour.
Mickelson was one of 11 golfers who sued the PGA Tour on August 3, claiming they had been wrongfully 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 August 27.
“I haven’t done anything yet, but now that LIV is involved, I don’t need to be a part of it,” Mickelson said after playing in Thursday’s LIV Golf pro-am at Rich Harvest Farms. “Currently I’m still [part of the lawsuit]. I don’t know what I’m really going to do. The only reason I’m staying here is the damage, that I really don’t want or need anything.”
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 one of the first players to sign with LIV, which is funded by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund and led by two-time Open winner Greg Norman.
Mickelson had complained of “hateful greed” on the PGA Tour and argued that professional golfers were free agents who should be able to play wherever they wanted.
“I think 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,” Mickelson said. “Now that LIV is part of [the lawsuit]That will be achieved 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 suit says Mickelson was first suspended for two months by the PGA Tour on March 22 for “attempting to recruit players for [LIV Golf].” An appeals committee upheld Mickelson’s suspension. His request for reinstatement was denied some two months later because he had played in the first LIV Golf event in London.
“The illegal conduct of the Tour cost Mickelson endorsement and sponsorship deals,” the suit says. “Remarkably, the Tour is the only golf course regularly shown on broadcast television in the United States, earning far more in sponsorship, advertising and broadcast revenue than any other golf course.”
Four players who were originally the plaintiffs in the lawsuit — Abraham Ancer, Carlos Ortiz, Pat Perez and Jason Kokrak — are no longer involved in the case.