The PGA Tour-LIV Golf drama has entered its newest phase: litigation.
Eleven players, including Phil Mickelson, filed an antitrust suit against the PGA Tour on Wednesday, alleging the Tour acted unlawfully by suspending LIV Golf players. The plaintiffs seek to have their suspensions overturned and playing privileges reinstated, with a smaller group hoping for a temporary restraining order so they can participate in the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
The suit was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Among the many revelations in the suit is that Mickelson — one of the ringleaders in the LIV Golf coup — was suspended by the Tour for two months in March after “attempting to recruit players to join [LIV Golf].” The suspension was appealed and eventually upheld by the Tour Policy Board, according to the suit.
Mickelson applied for reinstatement to the Tour on June 20, but the Tour denied his request, claiming he’d “violated Tour regulations by participating in the LIV Golf London Invitational.” In addition, the suit added, the Tour extended Mickelson’s suspension until March 2023.
According to the suit, Mickelson’s suspension was extended another year after his participation in the LIV Golf Invitational in Portland. He will next be eligible to apply for reinstatement after March 31, 2024.
Mickelson last appeared in a Tour event at the Famers Insurance Open in January where he missed the cut after rounds of 76 and 71.
The PGA Tour declined to comment on Mickelson’s alleged suspension, but commissioner Jay Monahan did send a memo to players addressing the suit.
“Fundamentally, these suspended players — who are now Saudi Golf League employees — have walked away from the Tour and now want back in,” the memo said. “With the Saudi Golf League on hiatus, they’re trying to use lawyers to force their way into competition alongside our members in good standing.”
You can read the entire memo below.