Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau among 11 LIV Golf Invitational Series players filing lawsuit against PGA Tour
Talk of lawsuits between the breakaway Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series and the PGA Tour has been just that. Until now.
As first reported in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, 11 LIV golfers are suing to challenge their PGA Tour suspensions.
Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau are among the 11 suing the Tour.
Three other LIV golfers—Talor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford—are a part of the lawsuit because they are seeking a temporary restraining order so that they can play in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup Playoffs.
The other golfers involved are Abraham Ancer, Jason Kokrak, Carlos Ortiz, Pat Perez, Ian Poulter and Peter Uihlein.
The PGA Tour’s three-event postseason starts next week in Memphis. Gooch, Jones and Swafford were qualified for the playoffs before leaving for LIV.
The lawsuit, obtained by Golfweek, states:
As the Tour’s monopoly power has grown, it has employed its dominance to craft an arsenal of anticompetitive restraints to protect its long-standing monopoly. Now, threatened by the entry of LIV Golf, Inc. (“LIV Golf”), and diametrically opposed to its founding mission, the Tour has ventured to harm the careers and livelihoods of any golfers, including Plaintiffs Phil Mickelson, Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford, Matt Jones, Bryson DeChambeau, Abraham Ancer, Carlos Ortiz, Ian Poulter, Pat Perez, Jason Kokrak, and Peter Uihlein (“Plaintiffs”), who have the temerity to defy the Tour and play in tournaments sponsored by the new entrant. The Tour has done so in an intentional and relentless effort to crush nascent competition before it threatens the Tour’s monopoly.
LIV Golf has now staged three events and ahead of each, a new group of PGA Tour and DP World Tour players have joined the upstart circuit backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. And each time, the Tour has suspended them.
Saudi Arabia has been accused of wide-ranging human rights abuses, including politically motivated killings, torture, forced disappearances and inhumane treatment of prisoners. And members of the royal family and Saudi government were accused of involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist.
“I just wish it wasn’t this way. I think wherever you qualify, you have the credentials to play somewhere, you should be able to do so,” Ancer said to Golfweek last week at the LIV Golf Invitational Series event at Trump National Bedminster. He also thinks he’d play in the playoffs if given the chance. “Everything is changing day by day, so I don’t even know what’s happening. I’m committed to LIV, but I’d like to play all over the world. We’ll see what happens.”
Matthew Wolff was unable to give a definitive answer to whether or not he’d compete in the playoffs when asked at Trump Bedminster, but said he’d “absolutely” consider it.