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LIV Golf joins Phil Mickelson and other players in antitrust lawsuit against PGA Tour

Saudi-funded LIV Golf has joined a handful of its players in their antitrust lawsuit claiming the PGA Tour has used monopoly power to try to squash competition and has unfairly suspended players

Phil Mickelson during a press conference at the Centurion Club, Hertfordshire ahead of the LIV Golf Invitational Series
Image: Phil Mickelson and 10 other golfers sued the PGA Tour in early August over its decision to suspend them for playing on the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf circuit

LIV Golf has joined a handful of its players in their antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour, according to an amended complaint that showed four golfers have now removed their names.

Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter and Bryson DeChambeau and several other golfers sued the PGA Tour in early August over its decision to suspend them for playing on the new Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf circuit.

According to the amended complaint filed on Friday in San Jose, California federal court, LIV Golf is seeking "punitive damages against the PGA Tour for its tortuous interference with LIV Golf's prospective business relationships."

The lucrative LIV Golf series is being bankrolled by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, which critics say is a vehicle for the country to improve its image in the face of criticism of its human rights record.

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USA Presidents Cup captain Davis Love III has hinted at a major player boycott if LIV golfers are able to return to the PGA Tour

Three players still on the lawsuit - Talor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford - had sought a temporary restraining order that would have allowed them to compete in the PGA Tour's playoffs but their request was denied.

The amended filing showed that both Abraham Ancer and Jason Kokrak had dropped out of the complaint, while Carlos Ortiz and Pat Perez had removed their names in recent weeks.

The remaining players in the complaint are Mickelson, DeChambeau, Poulter, Peter Uihlein, Gooch, Swafford and Jones.

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Bryson DeChambeau watches his shot on the 17th hole during the first round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at The Country Club, Thursday, June 16, 2022, in Brookline, Mass. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Image: Bryson DeChambeau is another of the players included on the lawsuit

Poulter was one of three DP World Tour members who successfully gained a temporary stay of their suspensions from July's Scottish Open, pending determination of their substantive appeals.

The players had also been fined £100,000 for competing in the first LIV Golf event in June after being turned down for the required releases.

Being suspended by the PGA Tour means players such as Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Patrick Reed cannot represent the United States in September's Presidents Cup, when Davis Love will captain the side.

Horschel: It doesn't make sense | Zalatoris: Players' actions are detrimental to our Tour | Cink: Truth starting to come out

Several current players have discussed the 11 LIV golfers who have filed a lawsuit against the PGA Tour...

Billy Horschel

"Why? Why do they need to come and play the PGA Tour? They made a decision to go and play the LIV Tour, they made a decision to not follow the rules of the PGA Tour.

"They signed multi-million dollar contracts, they're playing for a lot of money. Every one of them has said they want to play less golf, and so now they're going to play more golf by playing the PGA Tour?

They want to spend more time with their family? It just doesn't make sense to me.

"The question I keep asking myself and that I should ask them, and maybe the media should ask them, is what is their vision of supporting the PGA Tour?

"They've talked about that they do want to be on the PGA Tour - some of them have - and say they still want to support the PGA Tour, but what is that vision?

"The vision is not playing 15 events minimum in a year on the PGA Tour, because that would then be 29 events which goes against what they said earlier: that they wanted to play less.

"Their vision is cherry picking what events they want to play in on the PGA Tour, obviously those would the invitationals, Players, the higher world ranking events and the biggest purse events on the PGA Tour.

"And that's not supporting the PGA Tour. That's getting exemptions into these events, so it's frustrating.

"They made a decision to leave the PGA Tour, and they should go follow their employer."

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Several current players discuss the 11 LIV golfers who have filed a lawsuit against the PGA Tour

Will Zalatoris

"You know I understand their argument to say we're independent contractors but what they're doing going over there is detrimental to our tour.

"So you can't have it both ways. We'll see what happens.

"I think if they're allowed to play I'd like to see what they did with the Scottish Open, where they put them in their own crew.

"I wouldn't mind seeing them in their own foursome."

Webb Simpson

"These guys were well aware of the consequences of going to LIV, so I don't know what their train of thought is right now with trying to sue the Tour when I'm pretty sure they knew what would happen.

"They would be suspended. The commissioner let us know the consequences of joining LIV a long time ago, so we'll see what happens."

Kevin Kisner

"They should just be content with the decision they made, and stick to where they moved to.

"I hung out with Hudson Swafford last week a lot, we're still good friends. We have differences of opinion and that's a lot about life."

Stewart Cink

"I think we're starting to see the truth come out.

"Playing less was not the reason players were joining another tour. Growing the game is not a reason players are going to join another tour.

"It's to get paid a lot. And so if you say you would play less but then you go to the length of filing a lawsuit to get access to more tournaments, I think you're kind of talking out of both sides of your mouth."

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