The 105-page antitrust lawsuit that was filed against the PGA Tour in U.S. Distinct Court Wednesday outlined how the lawyers representing the 11 suspended Tour members plan to make their case. But arguably the most compelling element focused on how eventful Phil Mickelson’s year has been.
There had been rumors for months that Mickelson had been suspended by the Tour for his comments that were critical of both the Tour and LIV Golf, which is funded by the Saudi Public Investment Fund. According to the lawsuit, which was filed in the Northern District of California, Mickelson was suspended by the Tour for two months for, among other reasons, “attempting to recruit players to join [LIV Golf]” in March.
The lawsuit claims Mickelson appealed the suspension but was denied. On June 20, he applied to be reinstated but was again denied for violating the circuit’s policies when he played the first LIV Golf event in early June.
Tour players are required to have conflicting-event releases to play events that aren’t sanctioned by the Tour and all requests to compete in the start-up league were denied.
The second suspension was set to last through March 2023 but was extended again when Mickelson played the second LIV event to March 2024.
“The Tour’s unlawful conduct cost Mickelson endorsement deals and sponsorships,” the lawsuit read. “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.”
Specifically, the lawsuit pointed out Mickelson would not be able to compete for the $10 million Tour-funded Player Impact Program, FedExCup points or world ranking points.
Mickelson was one of 11 players named in Wednesday’s lawsuit, which also seeks a temporary restraining order that would allow three of those players – Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones – to compete in the FedExCup playoffs, which begin next week.