Phil Mickelson May Have To Give Evidence In LIV Golf Case Against PGA Tour

Phil Mickelson withdrew from antitrust lawsuit against PGA Tour but judge rules his agent is still subject to discovery

Phil Mickelson at a LIV Golf media conference
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson may yet have to give evidence in the ongoing legal battle between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour, despite withdrawing his name from the lawsuit.

Mickelson, Talor Gooch and Hudson Swafford took their names off the antitrust lawsuit that LIV Golf filed against the PGA Tour in August, but a judge has now ruled that they are still subject to discovery in the case.

US District Court judge Susan van Keulen has ruled that the players’ agents are subject to discovery, including non-privileged information held and passed on electronically – according to an initial report by Rex Hoggard of the Golf Channel.

Judge Van Keulen found in favour of continuing discovery saying that it “applies no matter whether the responding person is a party to the litigation or a third-party subject.”

Legal representatives for Mickelson, Gooch and Swafford had been arguing that the PGA Tour’s discovery process could reveal information and communications of other clients of the agents with regards to LIV Golf.

The court agreed that information about other players should not be handed over, so ordered that the search be “designed to limit the scope of the results to materials related to their agent's representation of the players and not other potential principals.”

Interestingly, Van Keulen also ruled that DP World Tour chief executive Keith Pelley and the R&A could be deposed and subject to discovery, as LIV Golf claim both parties are part of the “golf ecosystem” that had been colluding against the Saudi-funded organisation.

The trial, if it eventually goes ahead, is not expected to be heard in court until 2024, as the bitter wranglings between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf continue to run and run. Both parties are suing each other, there are still arguments about the allocation or non-allocation of ranking points, and that’s even before the four Majors have decided upon whether they’ll allow LIV Golf players to compete.

Greg Norman’s outfit has certainly shaken up the golfing landscape, but there could be as much action in the court rooms as out on the golf course the way things are going.

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Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.