Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, and more LIV Golfers file antitrust lawsuit against PGA Tour
- 11 LIV Golfers, including Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau, have filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour.
- The suit alleges that the PGA Tour took part in anti-competitive behavior against LIV Golf.
Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, and nine other LIV golfers have filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour. The suit was filed on Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
The suit comes after the PGA Tour has suspended those players who have left to join LIV Golf, and kicks off a legal fight that could last for years. In the suit, the LIV golfers allege that the PGA Tour took part in anti-competitive practices while attempting to thwart LIV's progress, including threatening agents and sponsors with potential punishments should they continue to stand by players that made the jump.
"The Tour set out to destroy competition in its infancy by doing everything in its power to lock up its members (including Plaintiffs) and deny them the opportunity for true sustained competition for their services," the lawsuit alleges.
In a statement, LIV Golf supported its players' decision to take legal action.
"The players are right to have brought this action to challenge the PGA's anti-competitive rules and to vindicate their rights as independent contractors to play where and when they choose,'' the statement read. "Despite the PGA Tour's effort to stifle competition, we think golfers should be allowed to play golf."
In a text message to Sports Illustrated, Pat Perez, one of the LIV Golfers bringing the lawsuit, said that LIV was covering the legal costs of the endeavor.
While the antitrust aspect of the lawsuit could take years to suss out, three players — Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford, and Matt Jones — have also called for a "temporary restraining order" which would allow them to play in the upcoming FedExCup Playoffs. All three players had previously qualified to take part in the playoffs, which offer the biggest potential winnings of any event on the PGA Tour calendar, but were removed from contention after their suspensions due to their move to join LIV.
In the suit, the players argue that Gooch, Swafford, and Jones could suffer "substantial and irreparable" harm if forced to miss the playoffs, as it could lead to missed opportunities to play in majors in the future.
Several LIV players used a similar argument earlier in the year in order to earn entry into the Scottish Open. This is the first legal test of the matter between the two sides in the US.
The lawsuit also makes clear that Mickelson was in fact suspended by the PGA Tour in the aftermath of his shocking comments about the upstart league, for "attempting to recruit players to join" LIV. The suit states that due to Mickelson's continued participation in LIV events, that suspension has been pushed to two years, with Mickelson unable to apply for reinstatement until after March 31, 2024.
Before leaving for LIV, Mickelson had earned a lifetime membership to the PGA Tour thanks to his long tenure and accumulation of wins on the course.
In a statement, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said the players bringing the suit were attempting to have things both ways.
"It's an attempt to use the Tour platform to promote themselves and to freeride on your benefits and efforts. To allow reentry into our events compromises the Tour and the competition, to the detriment of our organization, our players, our partners, and our fans. The lawsuit they have filed somehow expects us to believe the opposite, which is why we intend to make our case clearly and vigorously."
- Quantum Computing Explained
- 10 Foods you should avoid eating in breakfast
- 8 Irresistible seasonal snacks to warm your winter days
- Vijay Shekhar Sharma says 'Wed in India' is a good idea for its food options
- NCLAT stays CCI penalty on NTPC in Ratnagiri Gas & Power shares issue