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Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter among names removing themselves from LIV Golf lawsuit against PGA Tour suspension

CNN
 — 

Phil Mickelson is among a group of players who have removed themselves from the LIV Golf lawsuit against the PGA Tour and its suspension of players who have participated in the breakaway Saudi-backed tour.

The six-time major winner is joined by Ian Poulter, Talor Gooch and Hudson Swafford in dropping out of the lawsuit. The players filed the voluntary dismissal of their claim against the PGA Tour on Tuesday in the US District Court.

Of the original 11 players who filed the lawsuit against the PGA Tour, it leaves just LIV Golf itself, Bryson DeChambeau, Matt Jones and Peter Uihlein as plaintiffs. Abraham Ancer, Carlos Ortiz, Pat Perez and Jason Kokrak had already removed their names.

Mickelson’s decision doesn’t come as a surprise, after he suggested two weeks ago that his part in the lawsuit wasn’t as important as previously.

“Now that LIV is involved, it’s not necessary for me to be involved,” Mickelson told SI.com at Rich Harvest Farms ahead of the LIV Golf event in Chicago. “I currently still am. I don’t know what I’m going to do, really.

“The only reason for me to stay in is (monetary) damages, which I don’t really want or need anything. 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.”

The lawsuit was dealt a blow in August when it had a request for a temporary restraining order to play in the FedEx Cup playoffs denied by a judge.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan announced in June that golfers playing in the controversial breakaway series were suspended and would no longer be eligible to participate in PGA Tour tournaments.

The lawsuit said the PGA Tour threatened to place lifetime bans on players who participate on the LIV golf series, adding that “unprecedented suspensions” were placed upon them. The suit also alleges the PGA Tour has threatened sponsors, vendors and agents to coerce players to abandon opportunities to play in LIV Golf events and access to their members.

According to multiple media outlets, the trial is scheduled to begin in January 2024.

The LIV Golf series is backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) – a sovereign wealth fund chaired by Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and the man who a US intelligence report named as responsible for approving the operation that led to the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Bin Salman has denied involvement in Khashoggi’s murder.

The tour consists of eight events across the world. The first one was held in June in London. The most recent was held from September 16 to 18 in Chicago at Rich Harvest Farms.

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