Phil Mickelson, the driving force among PGA Tour players in the rival LIV Golf series, and three other players asked a federal judge Tuesday to remove their names from the antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour.
Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Ian Poulter filed separately to have their names removed. That leaves only three players – Bryson DeChambeau, Peter Uihlein and Matt Jones – and Saudi-funded LIV Golf as plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed in early August.
The trial is not scheduled to begin until January, 2024.
Mickelson’s decision was not a surprise. He had said two weeks ago to SI.com that he no longer needed to be involved in the lawsuit now that LIV Golf has joined as a plaintiff.
“The only reason for me to stay in is damages, which I don’t really want or need anything,” Mickelson said. “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.”
LIV Golf already suffered one setback in court when U.S. District Justice Beth Labson Freeman denied a temporary restraining order that sought to allow LIV Golf players to compete in the PGA Tour’s lucrative postseason.
Mickelson has been one of the chief recruiters for LIV Golf and its leader, Greg Norman.
In an interview with Alan Shipnuck for his biography on Mickelson, the six-time major champion said he recruited three other “top players” for LIV Golf and that they paid attorneys to write the operating agreement for the proposed league.
Mickelson was among the last players announced when LIV Golf and its US$25-million purses began in early June. There now have been five events, with the next two scheduled in October in Thailand and Saudi Arabia.
LIV Golf has 12 of the top 50 in the world ranking.
Patrick Reed fell out of the top 50 this week, in part because LIV Golf does not receive world ranking points as its application with the Official World Golf Ranking board is considered, a process that could take until next summer.
“The PGA Tour for the last 20 or 30 years have had all the best players in the world. That will never be the case again,” Mickelson said two weeks ago. “LIV Golf is here to stay, and this type of divisive talk is doing nobody good.”
His hope was for LIV Golf and the PGA Tour to work together, which PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has said is unlikely to happen. The PGA Tour has suspended all members who have signed with LIV Golf for violating tour regulations.