Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and nine players who defected to play in the Saudi-funded LIV golf league filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour on Wednesday.
This is the first step in a legal battle that could define the limits of where golfers can compete.
A lawsuit filed in federal district court in San Francisco alleges that the tour used its monopoly power to stifle competition and unfairly suspend players.RELATED
Another motion has been filed seeking an injunction to allow Tarrah Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford to participate in the playoffs of the PGA’s postseason, the FedEx Cup, which begins next week.
The lawsuit also revealed that tour commissioner Jay Monahan suspended Mickelson for two months in March for his involvement in recruiting players for LIV Golf. This marks Mickelson’s request for his June comeback being denied. This is because he played in one of his LIV Golf his events and he was suspended until March 2024 to participate in another event.
saudi golf league
Monahan responded to the lawsuit with a brief note to players who continue to refer to LIV Golf as the “Saudi Golf League,” referring to “11 former colleagues” who are suing the tour.
Saudi Arabia’s sovereign funds are a major source of funding for paying exorbitant bonuses to contracted golfers in the league. The series saw him offer $25 million in prizes in a 48-player tournament. Several players participating are in his 40s and no longer ranked in the top 50 in the world.
Monahan said the players knew the consequences of signing with rival leagues.
“We are prepared to defend our members and challenge this latest attempt to disrupt the tour, and please be confident in the legal merits of our position,” Monaghan wrote.
“Basically, these suspended players, who are now Saudi Golf League employees, have left the Tour and now want to return,” he wrote. It is an attempt to promote us and take advantage of their interests and efforts.”
In a statement, LIV Golf said: A golfer should be able to play golf.
Its CEO, Greg Norman, said LIV Golf is prepared to financially assist in any legal matter. Last month, four of his players on the European Tour won temporary suspensions from Great Britain, which has been cleared for the Scottish Open.
Among the plaintiffs are Mexicans Abraham Unser and Carlos Ortiz.
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