Golf Digest - Phil Mickelson had already been suspended by the PGA Tour back in March prior to his defection to LIV Golf, according to a lawsuit Mickelson filed against the tour on Wednesday.
An antitrust claim made by Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and nine other LIV Golf members against the tour disclosed that Mickelson received disciplinary action for, among other things, attempting to recruit members to the Saudi-backed circuit. In the fallout of his controversial comments about Saudi Arabia and leveraging the tour, Mickelson said he was taking a personal leave of absence from the game during this time…
…“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],'” reads the complaint. “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. On June 20, 2022, Mr. Mickelson applied for reinstatement from the two-month suspension. The Tour denied his request, stating that Plaintiff Mickelson violated Tour regulations by participating in the LIV Golf London Invitational. 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 complaint says that the tour then extended the suspension for Mickelson’s participation in the LIV Golf Portland event, "deferring even the mere opportunity to apply for reinstatement until after March 31, 2024.”
“Mr. Mickelson’s unlawful two-year suspension from the PGA Tour has caused him irreparable professional harm, as well as financial, and commercial harm,” the claim continues. “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.”
Wellllllp. There goes one of the worst kept secrets throughout this saga. Although the timeline reveals that Phil’s mysterious sabbatical was before an official suspension from the Tour, this sequence of events lays out pretty plainly that he knew full well a suspension was coming. Then… it just kept coming. Jay Monahan just kept laying it on thick like a kid talking back to his mama.
“Two months? Keep it up and we’ll make it a year…. No two years!”
Phil had to have known that was the way it was gonna go. What I’m curious about is whether the behind the scenes of the Masters and PGA really played out the way that those organizations said they did. Phil had to have known he was too far gone to keep trying to save face with the PGA Tour. Why sit out those two majors if you knew this was going to be thr outcome? Especially one where you’re defending your title? Have to think those two tournaments told Phil to stay home.
This whole thing just continues to get messier and messier to the surprise of no one. Can’t imagine Phil ever plays a regular PGA Tour event again. It’s LIV, majors, and that’s about it for Phil. What a way to go out for Lefty.