11 LIV Golfers File Antitrust Lawsuit Against PGA Tour
By Jason Hall
August 3, 2022
Eleven golfers suspended by the PGA Tour for joining LIV Golf filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour on Wednesday (August 3), which includes three golfers seeking a temporary restraining order from a federal judge to compete in the FedEx Cup Playoffs later this month, ESPN reports.
The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court of Northern California seeks permission for Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones to be allowed to compete in the upcoming playoff events, despite having been among the golfers suspended by the PGA Tour for joining LIV earlier this summer.
"The punishment that would accrue to these players from not being able to play in the FedEx Cup Playoffs is substantial and irreparable and a temporary restraining order is needed to prevent the irreparable harm that would ensue were they not to be able to participate," an attorney representing the golfers in the lawsuit stated via ESPN.
Other plaintiffs identified in the lawsuit include Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Carlos Ortiz, Ian Poulter, Peter Uihlein, Jason Kokrak, Pat Perez and Abraham Ancer.
"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 states. "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."
Gooch, Swafford and Jones are all scheduled to compete in the FedEx Cup playoffs, but are currently suspended from the PGA Tour after participating in LIV Golf events without a conflicting-event release.
All three players are within the top 125 rankings for playoff eligibility with Gooch ranked 20th in the FedEx Cup points standings; Stafford ranked 63rd; and Jones ranked 91st.
Several of golf's biggest names, including Mickelson, DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, have signed multiyear deals with LIV Golf, which offers guaranteed contracts ranging between $100 million and $200 million.
In June, the PGA Tour suspended all 17 members who competed in the inaugural LIV Golf event, according to a copy of a memo announcing the punishment to players shared by Front Office Sports ahead of the event on June 9.
The announced disciplinary action came just as the 17 PGA members and former members hit their opening tee shots in the inaugural event, which was held at Centurion Club outside of London.