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Just when controversy surrounding the LIV Golf Invitational Series seemed destined to settle for a while, with the next tournament not taking place for another month, 11 LIV Golf players have reportedly filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour.
Per the Wall Street Journal (opens in new tab), it is reported that Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau are among with 11 to file the motion, along with Abraham Ancer, Talor Gooch, Matt Jones, Jason Kokrak, Carlos Ortiz, Pat Perez, Ian Poulter, Hudson Swafford and Peter Uihlein.
Video: What Is LIV Golf?
The report states that the players are challenging their suspensions from the PGA Tour in light of their appearances in the Series. The motion says: "The Tour's conduct serves no purpose other than to cause harm to players and foreclose the entry of the first meaningful competitive threat the Tour has faced in decades."
Additionally, Gooch, Jones and Swafford are seeking a temporary restraining order to allow them to compete in the upcoming FedEx Cup Playoffs. The PGA Tour recently excluded affected LIV Golf players in a new FedExCup points list and barred them from competing. Meanwhile, in another enlightening piece of information outlined in the court documents, they state Mickelson was suspended by the PGA Tour on 22 March for trying to recruit players to LIV Golf.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has responded to the lawsuit with a letter to members, accusing the players of "trying to use lawyers to force their way into competition alongside our members in good standing." The letter goes on to state that: "It's an attempt to use the Tour platform to promote themselves and to freeride on your benefits and efforts."
The lawsuit marks another twist in a long-running saga that has seen the PGA Tour and DP World Tour strengthen their alliance amid the LIV Golf threat. That followed an earlier insistence from LIV Golf CEO that players are independent contractors who should be free to play whatever tournaments they want. In June, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan admitted that the Tour can’t compete financially with LIV Golf and described the Series as “an irrational threat”.
LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman recently insisted that LIV Golf has no intention of destroying the PGA Tour and that he would be willing to negotiate with Monahan. Meanwhile, DeChambeau has stated that he thinks his suspension from the PGA Tour “doesn’t make sense”. He said: “I think it will get figured out. I personally know that it will get figured out, whether it's legally or whether they come to the table and work out terms. I definitely think it will wash itself out in the future, pretty shortly.”
Whether DeChambeau was hinting at the lawsuit is unclear, but what does seem obvious is that, even with the Series on a month-long hiatus, the power struggle it has opened up at the top of the game still has some way to run.
Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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