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Lawyers representing the PGA Tour have filed a motion to federal Judge Beth Labson Freeman of the Northern District of California, requesting that the LIV Golf contracts signed by former PGA Tour members be unsealed.
The motion reads: "Plaintiffs have come nowhere close to establishing ‘compelling reasons’ to seal this information. Many of the provisions [the former PGA Tour players] seek to seal are highly relevant to the core issues in this litigation."
Last month a group of 11 PGA Tour defectors, which included Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau, submitted an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour. That number has since dropped after Carlos Ortiz and Pat Perez withdrew from the proceedings.
Within, the former members are challenging their suspension from the PGA Tour in light of their playing in the Saudi-backed Series. The motion states: "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."
As part of the initial hearing, attorneys for the suspended players submitted heavily redacted contracts that they signed with the Greg Norman-fronted venture. The PGA Tour's motion seeks to unseal those contracts and disclose all non-financial terms such as playing commitments, playing in competing events, the requirement to wear LIV Golf logos and financial penalties for breaching LIV's rules and regulations.
Lawyers representing the PGA Tour describe those terms as "not competitively sensitive" and "highly relevant to the core issues in this litigation and already in the public domain." They added that they weren't seeking "individually negotiated financial terms" or "confidential personally identifiable information."
Judge Freeman announced that summary arguments will begin in July 2023 - where the PGA Tour will almost certainly seek to dismiss the case - with a trial expected to begin in January 2024.
Separate to the antitrust lawsuit, Judge Beth Labson Freeman ruled that Talor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford felt "no irreparable harm" and were denied a temporary restraining order. As a result, the trio were not permitted to play in the lucrative FedEx Cup Playoffs.
It was earlier revealed that former Masters champion Patrick Reed filed a $750m defamation lawsuit against Brandel Chamblee and the Golf Channel. Within the Complaint, Reed alleges he was the victim of "calculated, malicious, false and reckless attacks" that had a "direct effect on his livelihood", adding that PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, the Golf Channel and Chamblee "conspired" together.
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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