Court documents filed by lawyers representing the ‘LIV 11’ show that Phil Mickelson was suspended by the PGA Tour in March for attempting to recruit players for the Saudi-funded start-up.
Earlier today, a suit was filed on behalf of 11 players currently suspended by the PGA Tour – Mickelson amongst them – seeking their immediate reinstatement.
In response, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan sent a strongly-worded statement to his members, pledging to “vigorously” contest the action.
A closer look at the documents, as first reported by Golf Digest, reveals that six-time major champion Mickelson has been suspended by the tour since March 22.
The left-hander had announced in February that he was taking a hiatus from the game following a huge backlash against comments he had made in the early weeks of the year, including remarks made to biographer Alan Shipnuck in which he referred to the Saudi bankrollers of LIV Golf as “scary m**********rs”.
The court documents state: “On March 22, 2022, the Commissioner suspended Plaintiff Mickelson (with the opportunity to apply for reinstatement in May of 2022) for, among other alleged reasons, 'attempting to recruit players to join [LIV Golf]’.
“Following an appeal, the appeals committee (a three-person committee comprised of members of the Tour Policy Board) affirmed the Commissioner’s two-month suspension.”
The documents further reveal that Mickelson applied for reinstatement from the suspension on June 20 – just under three weeks after he had participated in the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series event at Centurion.
“The Tour denied his request, stating that Plaintiff Mickelson violated Tour regulations by participating in the LIV Golf London Invitational,” added the documents.
“In addition to denying his request for reinstatement, the Tour extended Plaintiff Mickelson’s suspension, forbidding him from seeking reinstatement to play professional golf with the Tour until March 31, 2023.”
The suit alleges that Mickelson’s suspension has “caused him irreparable professional harm, as well as financial, and commercial harm”. It adds: “The Tour’s unlawful suspensions are denying Mr Mickelson the right he has earned to play in events on the Tour, to earn compensation playing on the Tour, and to have the opportunities that come with such play.
"The Tour’s suspension has denied Mr Mickelson the right to the platform and the public exposure provided by playing on the Tour.”