Phil Mickelson, 10 different LIV golfers file antitrust lawsuit towards PGA Tour

Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones, who’re three of the 11 golfers listed on the lawsuit, are searching for a brief restraining order that might enable them to play within the Tour’s FedEx Cup Playoffs, which is ready to start subsequent week.

“The Tour has ventured to harm the careers and livelihoods of any golfers…who have the temerity to defy the Tour and play in tournaments sponsored by the new entrant. The Tour has done so in an intentional and relentless effort to crush nascent competition before it threatens the Tour’s monopoly,” the grievance says.

The lawsuit plaintiffs additionally embody Bryson DeChambeau, Abraham Ancer, Carlos Ortiz, Ian Poulter, Pat Perez, Jason Kokrak and Peter Uihlein.

The lawsuit says the PGA Tour threatened to position lifetime bans on gamers who take part on the LIV golf sequence, including that the “unprecedented suspensions” had been positioned upon them. The swimsuit additionally alleges the PGA Tour has threatened sponsors, distributors and brokers to coerce gamers to desert alternatives to play in LIV Golf occasions entry to their members.

As well as, the grievance states the Tour has leaned on different entities within the “so-called golf ‘ecosystem’ including certain entities that put golf’s ‘Major’s,’ to do its bidding in its effort to maximize the threats and harm to any golfer who defies the Tour’s monopolistic requirements and plays in LIV Golf events.”

“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,” LIV Golf advised CNN in an announcement. “Despite the PGA Tour’s effort to stifle competition, we think golfers should be allowed to play golf.”

In response to the lawsuit, Monahan despatched PGA Tour gamers a memo Wednesday, saying that the golfers who walked away from the Tour now “want back in” and pledged that the Tour will make its case “clearly and vigorously.”

“It’s an attempt to use the TOUR platform to promote themselves and to freeride on your benefits and efforts,” Monahan wrote within the memo, obtained by CNN. “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.”

Monahan continued, “This is your TOUR, built on the foundation that we work together for the good and growth of the organization…and then you reap the rewards. It seems your former colleagues have forgotten one important aspect of that equation.”

The lawsuit says the plaintiffs have “devoted the bulk of their professional careers to growing the PGA Tour.” The grievance additionally states the Tour has executed nothing however “repaid them of late with suspensions, punishments, threats, and disparagement for merely playing professional golf for another promoter and embracing competition for their services.”

The lawsuit alleges that the Tour has “denied them income-earning opportunities, attacked their goodwill and reputation, interfered with their businesses, attacked their business partners, threatened them with egregious punishment — including threats to deny them from participating in golf’s marquee events, even when they have earned placement or exemptions to participate in those tournaments — and unlawfully prevented them from exercising their independent contractor rights. And, at every step, the Tour has repeatedly admitted that it has done this to destroy nascent competition.”

The US Justice Division introduced in July it was investigating the PGA Tour over potential antitrust violations involving LIV Golf.
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“This was not unexpected,” a PGA Tour spokesperson stated in an announcement on the time. “We went through this in 1994, and we are confident in a similar outcome.”

The Justice Division on Wednesday declined to remark.

In June, Monahan indicated LIV represents a severe risk to the success of the PGA Tour.

“If this is an arms race and if the only weapons here are dollar bills, the PGA Tour can’t compete,” he stated. “The PGA Tour, an American institution, can’t compete with a foreign monarchy that is spending billions of dollars in an attempt to buy the game of golf.

“We welcome good, wholesome competitors. The LIV Saudi Golf League is just not that. It is an irrational risk; one not involved with the return on funding or true development of the sport.”

According to the PGA Tour, any golfer that joined LIV Golf was ruled ineligible to participate in tournament play since early June.

The LIV Golf series is backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) — a sovereign wealth fund chaired by Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and the man who a US intelligence report named as responsible for approving the operation that led to the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Bin Salman has denied involvement in Khashoggi’s murder.
The tour consists of eight occasions internationally. The primary one was held in June, in London. The latest was held over the weekend on the Trump Nationwide Golf Membership Bedminster in New Jersey.

Correction: An earlier model of this story misstated which golfers within the lawsuit certified for this 12 months’s FedEx Cup Playoffs. Not all the gamers certified.