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Why is Phil Mickelson considering withdrawal from LIV Golf’s lawsuit against the PGA Tour?

Having been at the epicenter of the lawsuit, Mickelson’s apparent indecisiveness only adds to already contentious situation.

SUGAR GROVE, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 15: Team Captain Phil Mickelson of Hy Flyers GC plays a shot on the driving range during the pro-am prior to the LIV Golf Invitational - Chicago at Rich Harvest Farms on September 15, 2022 in Sugar Grove, Illinois. (Photo by Chris Trotman/LIV Golf via Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/LIV GolfGetty

The battle between the new Saudi backed LIV Golf and the traditional PGA Tour is as heated as ever, which makes the American’s musings all the more surprising.

Is Phil Mickelson backing out of LIV’s lawsuit against the PGA Tour?

According to reports on Thursday, Phil Mickelson says he’s considering removing his name from LIV Golf’s federal antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour. The six-time major champion, was of course among 11 golfers who sued the PGA Tour on August 3rd. The group alleged, that they were subject to improper suspension due to their participation in LIV Golf events. In addition, the suit goes on to claim that the PGA Tour was using its monopoly power to suppress competition. Following the filing, LIV Golf itself joined the players as plaintiff in the lawsuit on August 27th.

Phil Mickelson feels it's no longer "necessary," for him to be a part of a lawsuit that was filed against the PGA, now that LIV Golf has joined it.
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Phil Mickelson feels it's no longer "necessary," for him to be a part of a lawsuit that was filed against the PGA, now that LIV Golf has joined it.Charles Laberge/LIV GolfGetty

“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 following 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.” For his part, Mickelson has been a central component in LIV Golf’s fight with the PGA Tour for Golf’s best players. As one of the first players to jump ship, Mickelson has come in for heavy criticism alongside LIV Golf’s CEO and former PGA Tour star, Greg Norman.

Is Phil Mickelson right and wrong at the same time?

Having made no secret, of his disdain for what he terms the “obnoxious greed” of the PGA Tour, Mickelson has continually argued that professional golfers are free agents who should be allowed to play where ever they see fit – a seemingly reasonable position to hold. “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.”

On the other hand, there are Mickelson’s controversial comments about the Saudi Arabian government. Indeed, his statements to author Alan Shipnuck about the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabians, resulted in his suspension for “attempting to recruit players to [LIV Golf].” Mickelson would later see an appeal denied, as well as a request for reinstatement two months later. Incidentally, by the time said request was made, the American golfer had already played in the Saudi backed league’s first 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.” Interestingly, Mickelson is not the only golfer to withdraw from the lawsuit. Abraham Ancer, Carlos Ortiz, Pat Perez and Jason Kokrak have also since removed their names from the list of plaintiffs.


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