- 11 LIV Golfers, including Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau, have filed antitrust action against the PGA Tour.
- The suit alleges that the PGA Tour engaged in anti-competitive behavior against LIV Golf.
- Three players are also seeking a temporary restraining order that would allow them to participate in the upcoming FedExCup playoffs.
Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and nine other LIV players have filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour. The suit was filed Wednesday in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.
The lawsuit comes after the PGA Tour suspended players who left LIV Golf and starts a legal feud that could go on for years. In the lawsuit, LIV golfers allege that the PGA Tour engaged in anti-competitive practices while trying to impede LIV’s progress, including threats to agents and sponsors with possible punishment if they continued to support players who jumped.
“The Tour set out to destroy competition in its infancy, doing everything in its power to trap its members (including plaintiffs) and deny them the opportunity for true sustained competition for its services,” the suit alleges.
While the antitrust aspect of the lawsuit could take years to clear up, three players – Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones – also applied for a “temporary restraining order” that would allow them to play in the upcoming FedExCup Playoffs. All three players had previously qualified to participate in the playoffs, which offer the highest earning potential of any event on the PGA Tour schedule, but were removed from contention following their suspensions due to the move to join the LIV.
In the lawsuit, the players argue that Gooch, Swafford and Jones could suffer “substantial and irreparable” harm if they are forced to miss the playoffs, as this could lead to missed opportunities to play in majors in the future.
Several LIV players used a similar argument earlier in the year to gain entry to the Scottish Open. This is the first legal test of the issue between the two sides in the US.
The lawsuit also makes clear that Mickelson was in fact suspended by the PGA Tour following his shocking comments about the new league, for “trying to recruit players to join” the LIV. The suit states that due to Mickelson’s continued participation in LIV events, this suspension was postponed to two years, with Mickelson unable to apply for reinstatement until March 31, 2024.
Prior to departing for the LIV, Mickelson earned a lifetime membership to the PGA Tour thanks to his long tenure and accumulation of course wins.