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Phil Mickelson, the primary plaintiff in the lawsuit against the PGA Tour, just dropped out.

It has been known for months as “Mickelson et al vs. PGA Tour,” a name that is appropriate given that Phil Mickelson was the most well-known of the original 11 plaintiffs in what is expected to be the largest case in PGA Tour history. That has abruptly altered after Mickelson and three other LIV players withdrew his names from the lawsuit on Tuesday.

The Aug. 3 lawsuit has advanced through a first hearing (which the PGA Tour won, preventing LIV players from participating in the FedEx Cup Playoffs), and has now reached the stage where information and papers are being required to be discovered. Several LIV experts abandoned their participation over the past eight weeks: Carlos Ortiz, Pat Perez, Abe Ancer and Jason Kokrak. Perez responded to a question about his departure by telling SI.com, “I didn’t really think it through [when I joined]. I did it to support our soldiers.

On Tuesday, four more athletes—including the main plaintiff, Phil Mickelson—withdrew from the lawsuit.
Perez responded to a question about his departure by telling SI.com, “I didn’t really think it through [when I joined]. I did it to support our soldiers.

On Tuesday, four more athletes—including the main plaintiff, Phil Mickelson—withdrew from the lawsuit. Mickelson was working with his own legal team, had been hinting at this for weeks, and this week really made it happen.

In a statement, Mickelson stated, “I am focused on the future and really excited to be a part of LIV, while equally appreciative for my time on the Tour.” “I am happy that the recent reforms are having a positive impact on the players on the Tour and that they are finally being heard, acknowledged, and cherished. I no longer believe that my participation in the proceedings is required because LIV’s intervention in these matters will ensure that the players’ rights are safeguarded.

Only Bryson DeChambeau, Matt Jones, Peter Uihlein, and LIV Golf remain as plaintiffs in the action after Ian Poulter, Hudson Swafford, and Talor Gooch withdrew as well. Will the lawsuit continue to be referred to as Mickelson et al. v. PGA Tour? Most likely not. It is simply another sign that LIV Golf v. PGA Tour was always the likely outcome of the lawsuit, which LIV Golf joined after it was first filed.

Mickelson and the others who joined him in withdrawing from the lawsuit do not entirely absolve themselves of any wrongdoing.They are vulnerable to being removed by either side for purposes of discovery despite being important elements of the LIV Golf jigsaw. Prior to his official announcement in June, Mickelson’s name had been associated with a competing golf circuit for more than a year.

Since LIV Golf joined the professional golf sector and attracted top Tour talent to its side with guaranteed contracts, funded by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, the lawsuit itself depends on the rivalry between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour. Members of the PGA Tour have traditionally been referred to be independent contractors who get to decide when and where they participate.

However, when it coincides with Tour events, the “where” and “when” are constrained by PGA Tour rules.In a statement, LIV Golf stated that “nothing has changed.” The lawsuit’s core claim—the PGA Tour’s anti-competitive behavior—remains valid and will be put to the fullest possible test in court; we eagerly anticipate it.

We support the players who have been unjustly mistreated by the PGA Tour, but we also understand that a diverse roster of players is no longer necessary for the suit to be successful. We will fight the PGA’s anti-competitive actions in court with the support of our players.

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