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Four players have dropped their lawsuit against the PGA Tour but, in their absence, the rival Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit has now joined in.
An amended complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Northern California on Friday reflected the addition of LIV Golf to the antitrust lawsuit and the withdrawal of four names – Pat Perez and Carlos Oritiz, who previously announced their decision to drop the lawsuit, and Abraham Ancer and Jason Kokrak.
Phil Mickelson and 10 other golfers filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour earlier this month, claiming that its indefinite suspensions were aimed at hurting their careers. Three other golfers also filed for a temporary restraining order to compete in the FedEx Cup playoffs, arguing that they qualified before joining LIV Golf – an injunction that was later denied by a federal judge in California.
Three-time PGA Tour winner Pat Perez told Sports Illustrated that he initially joined the lawsuit to “back our guys,” but added that he didn’t want “to go after the PGA Tour.”
“I have no ill feelings toward the PGA Tour or any of the players. I’m a LIV guy 100%,” Perez told the outlet. “I’m going to play for them. But I don’t feel any need to go after the PGA Tour. They gave me a wonderful opportunity for 21 years. I’ve got nothing against them, no hard feelings toward anybody. I earned everything I got out there, don’t get me wrong.”
Carlos Ortiz shared those same thoughts when explaining his decision to abandon the lawsuit.
“At the end of the day, I don’t want to have any problems with the PGA Tour,” he said, via GolfMagic. “I’m happy where I am. I don’t want to go back to the PGA Tour now. And that’s why I withdrew from the lawsuit.”
LIV Golf alleges the PGA Tour’s restraints forced it to raise its costs to sign players and kept it from recruiting others who fear the threat of being punished. It also claims the tour forced LIV Golf to delay its launch for 2022 and have a smaller schedule in its first year.
In the amended complaint, LIV Golf argues that without a favorable ruling, its “ability to maintain a meaningful competitive presence in the markets will be destroyed.”
The remaining players on the lawsuit are Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Ian Poulter, Peter Uihlein, Matt Jones, Talor Gooch, and Hudson Swafford.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.