PGA Tour Responds To 'Legally Baseless' Lawsuit Raised By LIV Defectors

The PGA Tour has filed its response to the recent lawsuit ahead of a hearing on Tuesday

PGA Tour and LIV Golf logos
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The PGA Tour, via its attorneys, has filed a response to the lawsuit raised against it by 11 LIV golfers and particularly Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones, who are seeking entry into the FedEx Cup Playoffs that start this week.

The response claimed that LIV is "prepared to lose billions of dollars" to "sportswash the Saudi government's deplorable reputation for human rights abuses" and that the lawsuit is "legally baseless" per ESPN. “The Tour's attorneys argued that the players couldn’t “have their cake and eat it too."

The 11 players, that include Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Ian Poulter, filed the antitrust lawsuit last week in an attempt to reverse their suspensions after joining LIV Golf. “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,” it stated.

"LIV is not a rational economic actor, competing fairly to start a golf tour," the PGA Tour's attorneys filed back on Monday. "It is prepared to lose billions of dollars to leverage Plaintiffs [the 11 LIV Golfers raising the case] and the sport of golf to 'sportswash' the Saudi government's deplorable reputation for human rights abuses. 

"If Plaintiffs are allowed to breach their TOUR contracts without consequence, the entire mutually beneficial structure of the TOUR, an arrangement that has grown the sport and promoted the interests of golfers going back to Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, would collapse.

"Despite knowing full well that they would breach TOUR Regulations and be suspended for doing so, Plaintiffs have joined competing golf league LIV Golf, which has paid them tens and hundreds of millions of dollars in guaranteed money supplied by Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund to procure their breaches,' the reply also stated. 

The attorneys wrote that Gooch, Swafford and Jones being re-instated into the FedEx Cup Playoffs would "harm all Tour players that follow the rules" if the three were allowed to tee it up in the Playoffs.

'Plaintiffs now run into Court seeking a mandatory injunction to force their way into the TOUR's season-ending FedExCup Playoffs, an action that would harm all TOUR members that follow the rules. The antitrust laws do not allow Plaintiffs to have their cake and eat it too," while also writing that the trio “have waited nearly two full months to seek relief from the Court, fabricating an 'emergency' they now maintain requires immediate action."

A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday in San Jose, California, where the FedEx Cup Playoffs fates of Gooch, Swafford and Jones are set to be determined.

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV