In a preview of the legal wrangling that awaits in an antitrust lawsuit filed against the PGA Tour, Judge Beth L. Freeman split her ruling on a motion to seal LIV Golf’s contracts with players on Thursday.
The Tour’s attorneys argued that parts of the contracts should not be sealed – including provisions relating to social media use, player apparel, playing commitments and monetary penalties – because they are “highly relevant” to the antitrust lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court Northern District of California and now includes seven players.
Freeman agreed with the Tour, in part, ruling that portions of LIV’s player-participation agreement should not be redacted, but the ruling does allow for certain parts of the contracts – such as confidential business and financial information – to be sealed.
LIV Golf’s attorneys argued that future negotiations could be harmed if the details of the contracts became public, but the court ruled that these claims “lack the specificity” to be sealed and provided a chart outlining what is no longer allowed to be redacted.
The court also ruled that LIV Golf can’t redact portions of its rules and regulations. LIV had claimed the regulations were still being developed and making them public could cause the Saudi-backed circuit harm and “sow confusion in the market.”
Last week, LIV Golf joined the lawsuit against the Tour in an amended complaint along with seven suspended Tour members, including Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford, Matt Jones, Ian Poulter and Peter Uihlein.
A case management hearing is scheduled for Sept. 15.