A group of 11 LIV Golf members, headlined by Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau, have filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour.
“As part of its carefully orchestrated plan to defeat competition, the Tour has threatened lifetime bans on players who play in even a single LIV Golf event,” the lawsuit says, according to a story by ESPN’s Mark Schlabach.
“It has backed up these threats by imposing unprecedented suspensions on players (including the plaintiffs) that threaten irreparable harm to the players and their ability to pursue their profession. It has threatened sponsors, vendors and agents to coerce players to abandon opportunities to play in LIV Golf events. And it has orchestrated a per se unlawful group boycott with the European Tour to deny LIV Golf access to their members.”
According to Schlabach’s story, three of the 11 players — Taylor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones — are seeking a temporary restraining order from a federal judge that would allow them to compete in the FedEx Cup playoffs, which begin next week (all 11 players are among more than two dozen who have been suspended by the PGA Tour, according to ESPN.)
“The punishment that would accrue to these players from not being able to play in the FedEx Cup Playoffs is substantial and irreparable,” the lawsuit says, according to ESPN, “and a temporary restraining order is needed to prevent the irreparable harm that would ensue were they not to be able to participate.”
In response to the suit, the PGA Tour sent a letter to its players from commissioner Jay Monahan that reads in part, “We have been preparing to protect our membership and contest this latest attempt to disrupt our Tour, and you should be confident in the legal merits of our position.
“Fundamentally, these suspended players — who are now Saudi Golf League employees — have walked away from the Tour and now want back in. With the Saudi Golf League on hiatus, they’re trying to use lawyers to force their way into competition alongside our members in good standing.”