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In what is sure to be the first of many landmark legal battles between LIV Golf, its players and the PGA Tour, Judge Beth Labson Freeman ruled that Talor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford felt "no irreparable harm" and were denied a temporary restraining order.
The trio had brought the lawsuit against the PGA Tour last week as part of an antitrust action filed by a group of 11 LIV Golf players challenging their suspensions from the Tour as a result of signing up to the Saudi-backed Series. The first of the rulings means that neither Gooch, Jones or Swafford will tee it up in the upcoming FedEx Cup playoffs.
In support of the decision, the District Court Judge in San Jose, California said that LIV contracts were “based upon the players calculation of what they would be leaving behind."
Judge Freeman also announced that hearings for the rest of the antitrust case will begin at the end of September before a summary judgement in March 2023. The full trial is expected to begin a few months later in August 2023.
Shortly after the ruling was announced, LIV Golf issued the following statement: “We’re disappointed that Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones won’t be allowed to play golf. No one gains by banning golfers from playing.”
Whilst the ruling is a setback to LIV Golf and the three individuals that filed for the order, the controversial Greg Norman-fronted venture were reported to have signed a deal with recently crowned Champion Golfer of the Year and World No.2 Cameron Smith.
The Australian, who is also the reigning Players Champion, is said to have signed a deal worth in excess of $100m and will tee it up in Boston next month. Smith is in the field this week at the FedEx St Jude Championship in week one of the Playoffs, where $18m goes to the winner at East Lake in two weeks' time.
PGA Tour veteran Cam Percy told the Golf Gambling Podcast (opens in new tab) that both Smith and fellow Aussie Marc Leishman will join LIV, saying "unfortunately, yeah. They're gone." He later clarified his comments, saying his source was from talking to other players, not Smith and Leishman.
James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.
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