PGA Tour blasts LIV defectors, will fight antitrust lawsuit

·2-min read

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan delivered a stern and scathing response to an antitrust lawsuit filed Wednesday by 11 suspended players currently competing in the Saudi-funded LIV Golf league.

The lawsuit, which includes Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau among the most prominent plaintiffs, was filed just over a week before the FedEx Cup’s first playoff event, the St Jude Championship.

Six LIV players part of the lawsuit – Taylor Gooch, Jason Kokrak, Matt Jones, Hudson Swafford, Abraham Ancer and Carlos Ortiz – would be eligible for the playoffs if not banned by the PGA for joining the rival league. Gooch, Jones and Swafford have additionally filed a temporary restraining order to allow them to compete in the St Jude tournament.

The next LIV event is not scheduled to begin until September 2 at The International outside of Boston.

"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," said Monahan in a memo to PGA players.

"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 now on hiatus, they're trying to use lawyers to force their way into competition alongside our members in good standing.

"It's an attempt to use the Tour platform to promote themselves and freeride on your benefits and efforts. To allow re-entry into our events compromises the Tour and the competition, to the detriment of our organisation, our players, our partners and our fans.

"Let me be clear: we will continue to defend the members who abide by the regulations written by and for the players."

The suit, filed in San Francisco’s U.S. District Court, also contends that the PGA suspended Mickelson in March for recruiting Tour members to join the Saudi league. The six-time major winner was later denied reinstatement after participating in the inaugural LIV event near London in June.

The PGA has prohibited players competing in LIV events held the same week as a Tour-sponsored tournament without a release, and will not grant releases for LIV competitions held in North America.

LIV members, a list which also includes such top golfers as Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Sergio Garcia and Patrick Reed, remain eligible for The Masters, U.S. Open, Open Championship and PGA Championship, as the four majors are not run by the PGA.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting