Augusta Chairman Tried To Warn Players Off Joining LIV, Claims Lawsuit

Out of the public eye, Fred Ridley worked hard to stop players joining LIV Golf ahead of its launch in June

Scottie Scheffler and Fred Ridley at the prize ceremony at the 2022 Masters
(Image credit: Getty Images)

According to the 105-page antitrust lawsuit filed against the PGA Tour by 11 LIV golfers, including Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau, Augusta National Golf Club chairman Fred Ridley personally attempted to persuade players not to join the Saudi-backed breakaway league.

Ahead of this year’s Masters, Ridley remained fairly neutral on the matter under questioning, but the plaintiffs in the lawsuit claim the reality is quite different.

The suit read: “Augusta National, the promoter of The Masters, has taken multiple actions to indicate its alignment with the PGA Tour, thus seeding doubt among top professional golfers whether they would be banned from future Masters Tournaments. 

“As an initial matter, the links between the PGA Tour and Augusta National run deep. The actions by Augusta National indicate that the PGA Tour has used these channels to pressure Augusta National to do its bidding. For example, in February, 2022 Augusta National representatives threatened to disinvite players from The Masters if they joined LIV Golf.”

Video: What is LIV Golf?

That is very much at odds with what Ridley told the media in April. The absence of Mickelson from the men’s first Major of the year raised suspicions, but Ridley insisted “we did not disinvite Phil,” before adding: “Phil is a three-time Masters Champion and is invited in that category and many other categories.”

However, the cohort of 11 LIV stars have alleged Ridley has something of a personal vendetta against the up-start series fronted by Greg Norman, accusing him of trying “to threaten consequences relating to the Asian Tour’s position in the current ‘ecosystem’ if the Asian Tour continued to support LIV Golf and its LIV Golf Invitational Series.

“In addition, Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley personally instructed a number of participants in the 2022 Masters not to play in the LIV Golf Invitational Series. Plainly, these threats to top players served no beneficial purpose, as they would only serve to weaken the field in the Masters.”

As it stands, LIV players haven’t been banned from competing in any of the game’s Majors but face a nervous wait to find out if they will be able to acquire world ranking points through the newly launched tour.

Andrew Wright
Andrew Wright

A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.


Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.


As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.


What's in Andy's bag?

Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)

3-wood: TaylorMade M1 (15°)

Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)

Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)

Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2.5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1