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LIV Golf star drops out of lawsuit against PGA Tour

May 04, 2023

Jonathan Ferrey/LIV Golf

Peter Uihlein has withdrawn his name from the LIV Golf lawsuit against the PGA Tour, leaving just two of the original 11 players who filed the suit still attached to the legal battle.

In a 105-page complaint filed in early August 2022, Uihlein joined Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford, Matt Jones, Abraham Ancer, Carlos Ortiz, Ian Poulter, Pat Perez and Jason Kokrak in challenging their suspensions by the PGA Tour for joining LIV Golf. However, in a filing with the United States District Court in San Jose Thursday, Uihlein was granted voluntary dismissal as a plaintiff.

Nine of the players have now dropped out, most citing LIV’s entrance as an interested party in the case in late August as the impetus. The organization is claiming it has had to start its league in the face of reduced access to players with super-competitive costs. LIV Golf wants “punitive damages for the PGA Tour’s bad faith and egregious interference with LIV Golf’s contractual and perspective business relationships.”

With Uihlein’s departure, only DeChambeau and Jones remain on the suit. DeChambeau said last fall he remains on the lawsuit because the tour owes him money for making its Player Impact Program, but added, “It's not about the money; it's about the principle. It's the way you deal with situations."

The tour is adamant it has the legal authority to issue disciplinary measures and filed a countersuit last September, accusing the LIV-backed lawsuit as a “cynical effort to avoid competition and to freeride off of the tour’s investment in the development of professional golf.” Last month LIV Golf’s request to split its antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour into two cases was denied by a U.S. district judge. The move by LIV Golf was designed to keep Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and the PIF’s governor, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, out of the proceedings. LIV Golf has argued that the PIF and Al-Rumayyan are bystanders to the lawsuit and has attempted to protect both PIF and Al-Rumayyan citing sovereign immunity acts. The tour has countered that PIF—the primary financial backer of LIV—and Al-Rumayyan are instrumental in LIV’s business dealings.

Al-Rumayyan, who is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s inner circle, is considered the mastermind of the Golf Saudi and LIV Golf projects. Though Greg Norman has been the public-facing leader of LIV Golf, sources familiar with LIV tell Golf Digest that Al-Rumayyan and Majed Al Sorour were the two people who had final say over LIV Golf/Golf Saudi matters. Earlier this year Al Sorour was transitioned out as managing director of LIV Golf.

Uihlein, 33, was a highly touted amateur who made 126 career starts on tour, his best finish a third place at the 2021 team-centric Zurich Classic. Since defecting to the Saudi-backed circuit Uihlein has found more success, finishing third in the individual standings during LIV’s inaugural season and currently second in individual points this year.