The antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour that included 11 players on the upstart LIV Golf series has lost a supporter.
On Tuesday Carlos Ortiz, who still has “PGA Tour player” in his Twitter bio, told Golf Channel that he would be dropping out of the lawsuit that included the likes of Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford, Matt Jones, Ian Poulter, Abraham Ancer, Pat Perez, Jason Kokrak and Peter Uihlein. The players are challenging their suspensions by the PGA Tour for their actions in joining the Greg Norman-led LIV Golf Invitational Series, which is backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
According to a story by Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard, Ortiz’s manager Carlos Rodriguez confirmed that he has decided to move on from the lawsuit.
The PGA Tour sent the U.S. District Court of Northern California a 32-page response to the initial lawsuit on Monday, plus a separate seven-page example of what it calls mischaracterizations and mistruths presented by the LIV players. The court is scheduled to hear a complaint on Tuesday on behalf of Gooch, Swafford and Jones, who are seeking an injunction against the Tour to allow them entry into the FedEx Cup Playoffs, which begin this week with the FedEx St. Jude Championship at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee. All three players would have qualified for the playoffs had they not been suspended.
LIV Golf has long been criticized as a way for the Kingdom to sportswash its human rights record with guaranteed money and multi-million dollar deals. Saudi Arabia has been accused of wide-ranging human rights abuses, including politically motivated killings, torture, forced disappearances and inhumane treatment of prisoners. And members of the royal family and Saudi government were accused of involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist.
Ortiz was suspended by the Tour after making his debut at the second LIV Golf event earlier this summer in Portland. Over just two LIV events Ortiz has made $3.175 million, more than he made all last season on Tour in 28 starts ($2,682,104).