Phil Mickelson and 10 other LIV golfers file antitrust lawsuit against PGA Tour

Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones, three of the 11 golfers listed in the lawsuit, are seeking a temporary restraining order that would allow them to compete in the FedEx Tour Cup playoffs due to start next week.

“The Tour has risked damage to the careers and livelihoods of any golfers … who have the temerity to challenge the Tour and play in new entrant-sponsored tournaments. The tour did so in a deliberate and relentless attempt to stifle nascent competition. before it jeopardizes Tour’s monopoly,” the complaint reads.

Plaintiffs in the suit also include Bryson DeChambeau, Abraham Unser, Carlos Ortiz, Ian Poulter, Pat Perez, Jason Cokrach and Peter Yulein.

The lawsuit alleges that the PGA Tour threatened to impose a lifetime ban on players who participate in the LIV Golf Series, adding that they were given an “unprecedented suspension.” The lawsuit also alleges that the PGA Tour threatened sponsors, vendors and agents to force players to opt out of the opportunity to participate in LIV Golf events and gain access to its members.

Additionally, the complaint states that the Tour relied on other organizations in the “so-called ‘ecosystem’ of golf, including certain organizations that put ‘essential’ golfs to do his bidding in their efforts to maximize threats and harm to any golfer. , which defies the Tour’s monopoly demands and participates in LIV Golf events.”

“Players are right to bring this lawsuit to defy PGA’s anti-competitive rules and protect their rights as independent contractors to play where and when they choose,” LIV Golf CNN said in a statement. “Despite the PGA Tour’s efforts to crack down on competition, we believe golfers should be allowed to play golf.”

In response to the lawsuit, Monahan sent a memorandum to PGA Tour players on Wednesday stating that golfers who had opted out of the Tour now “want to come back” and promised that the Tour would fight for its rights “clearly and vigorously.”

According to CEO Greg Norman, Tiger Woods turned down a $700 million to $800 million offer to join the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series.

“This is an attempt to use the TOUR platform for self-promotion and free use of your achievements and efforts,” Monahan wrote in a memo obtained by CNN. “Repeated participation in our events puts the Tour and the competition at risk to the detriment of our organization, our players, our partners and our fans.”

Monahan continued, “This is your TOUR built on us working together for the good and growth of the organization… and then you reap the rewards. It looks like your former colleagues forgot one important aspect of this equation.”

The lawsuit states that the plaintiffs have “dedicated most of their professional careers to the development of the PGA Tour.” The complaint also states that the Tour has done nothing but “repay them in recent times with suspensions, punishments, threats and humiliation for simply playing professional golf for another promoter and taking part in competition for their services.”

The lawsuit alleges that the Tour “denied them income opportunities, attacked their goodwill and reputation, interfered with their business, attacked their business associates, threatened them with egregious punishment, including threats to deny them participation in important golf events.” even when they received a seat or exemption from these tournaments – and unlawfully prevented them from exercising their rights as an independent contractor. And at every stage, the Tour has repeatedly admitted that it did it to destroy the emerging competition.”

The US Department of Justice announced in July that PGA Tour investigation about possible violations of antitrust laws involving LIV Golf.
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“It was not a surprise,” a PGA Tour spokesman said at the time. “We went through this in 1994 and are sure of the same outcome.”

The Justice Department on Wednesday declined to comment.

In June, Monahan indicated that the LIV was a serious threat to the success of the PGA Tour.

“If this is an arms race, and if the only weapons are dollar bills, then the PGA Tour cannot compete.” he said. “The PGA Tour, an American organization, cannot compete with a foreign monarchy that spends billions of dollars to buy golf.

“We welcome good, healthy competition. The Saudi LIV Golf League is not like that. It’s an irrational threat that has nothing to do with ROI or real game growth.”

According to the PGA Tour, any golfer who joined LIV Golf has been banned from tournament play since early June.

The LIV Golf series is backed by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF), a sovereign wealth fund led by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the man U.S. intelligence has named responsible for approving the operation that led to the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Bin Salman denies any involvement in the Khashoggi murder.
The tour consists of eight events around the world. The first one took place in June in London. The most recent was weekend hero at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed which golfers in the lawsuit qualified for this year’s FedEx Cup playoffs. Not all players have qualified.