'A Deliberate Effort To Harm The Tour' - PGA Tour Countersues LIV Golf

Golf's civil war between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf rages on...

Jay Monahan and Greg Norman
(Image credit: Future)

The PGA Tour has countersued LIV Golf in the latest court battle between the two organisations as they both struggle over the future of the sport.

The PGA Tour has fired back at the Greg Norman-fronted series, suggesting that by offering millions of dollars as a method of luring competitors away, LIV is competing in an unfair manner.

Cameron Smith recently signed for a fee reported to be north of $100m following his Open Championship victory and this represented another blow to the PGA Tour that has lost stars including Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and others to LIV this year.

The PGA Tour was responding to the antitrust complaint that was filed nearly two months ago by 11 golfers; Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford, Matt Jones, Abraham Ancer, Carlos Ortiz, Ian Poulter, Pat Perez, Jason Kokrak and Peter Uihlein, although now only three remain.

DeChambeau, Jones and Uihlein have been joined by LIV Golf itself – which wasn’t in the original legal battle but has now stepped in to lead the fight against the US-based circuit.

On Wednesday evening, the PGA Tour denied the claim that it had accused LIV of interfering with the Tour’s contracts with golfers who had jumped ship to its rival, while adding a countersuit charge per The Athletic:

"Indeed, a key component of LIV’s strategy has been to intentionally induce TOUR members to breach their TOUR agreements and play in LIV events while seeking to maintain their TOUR memberships and play in marquee TOUR events like The Players Championship and the FedEx Cup Playoffs, so LIV can free ride off the TOUR and its platform.

"LIV has openly sought to damage the TOUR’s business relationships with its members by inducing them to breach their contractual requirements, even going so far as to pay members’ legal fees to make breaching their contracts with TOUR more enticing.”

“LIV’s orchestrated efforts to induce tour members to breach their contracts and prevent them from entering into any future contract with the tour are part of a deliberate effort to harm the TOUR.”

The PGA Tour continued by explaining that the remaining players’ accusations are “baseless and entirely without legal merit.” It also suggested that “it is LIV that is competing dishonestly.”

LIV Golf responded via a statement to Mirror Sport saying: "The Tour has made these counterclaims in a transparent effort to divert attention from their anti-competitive conduct, which LIV and the players detail in their 104-page complaint. We remain confident that the courts and the justice system will right these wrongs.”

The PGA Tour achieved one of its first victories in August when Gooch, Swafford and Jones saw their request to participate in the FedEx Cup Playoffs rejected by a federal judge.

There are many more legal battles to come, with the case scheduled for January 2024.

Ross Kilvington

Ross Kilvington is a freelance writer from Scotland who has had his work published by acclaimed publications such as Nutmeg alongside popular online blogs including the Gentleman Ultra, North Section and Engrossed in Football. Ross holds a passionate interest in golf and tries to play as often as possible, although having two daughters under the age of four means his quest to break 80 will have to wait a little bit longer. He writes about golf in his spare time, most recently having an article published in the Golf Memories anthology Mind the Links, which was released in July with all proceeds going towards Alzheimer charities. With a handicap that floats between 13-14, highlights are few and far between on the golf course, with an eagle on the par 4 16th at Kinghorn one that stands out (it doesn’t matter that it was only 290 yards!).