Phil Mickelson and Ian Poulter are among 11 LIV Golf players who filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour to challenge their suspension in the final battle of the golf civil war.
The group includes three players – Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones – who are seeking a temporary restraining order allowing them to compete in the FedEx Cup playoffs starting next week.
The complaint also alleges that Mickelson was suspended for two months on March 22 for “trying to recruit players” at LIV Golf, a ban that has since been extended to March 31, 2024 as a result of his participation in LIV tournaments in London and Portland.
Bryson DeChambeau, Abraham Unser, Carlos Ortiz, Pat Perez, Jason Cokrach and Peter Yulein are other players who have filed a lawsuit claiming the PGA Tour is trying to hurt their careers.
“The Tour’s behavior has no other purpose than to harm players and prevent the first major competitive threat the Tour has faced in decades,” the lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of the United States, said. California, states.
“The purpose of this action is to repeal the PGA Tour’s anti-competitive rules and practices that prevent these independent golfers from playing when and where they choose.”
In response, the PGA Tour released a memorandum written by Players Commissioner Jay Monahan, in which he described 11 players as former colleagues who had “retired from the tour” and are now “employees of the Saudi Golf League”.
“We have been preparing to defend our membership and challenge this latest attempt to derail our tour, and you must be sure of the legal merits of our position,” Monahan wrote.
“Since the Saudi Golf League is on hiatus, they are trying to use lawyers to break into the competition along with our members in good standing. This is an attempt to use the Tour platform for self promotion and freeride to your advantage and effort.
“Repeated participation in our events jeopardizes the Tour and the competition to the detriment of our organization, our players, our partners and our fans. The lawsuit they filed somehow suggests that we will believe otherwise, so we intend to make our position clear and forceful.
“This is your tour, built on the fact that we work together for the good and growth of the organization … and then you reap the benefits. It looks like your former colleagues forgot one important aspect of this equation.
Poulter was one of three DP World Tour competitors who successfully secured a temporary suspension of suspension from the July Scottish Open pending a decision on their appeals on the merits.
Players were also fined £100,000 for participating in the first LIV Golf tournament in June after they were denied the necessary permits.
Speaking on Tuesday, former Ryder Cup captain Davis Love said PGA Tour players could opt for the “nuclear option” of boycotting events if the LIV Rebels successfully challenged their suspension.
“If the guys from LIV sue and get permission to play the PGA Tour, the players are fed up with it,” Love said at a press conference before the Wyndham Championship.
“We understand that we make the rules of the PGA Tour and the commissioner enforces our rules and we don’t want these guys to play and come and choose our tournaments.
“We hold all cards. We tell the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) and Washington, “No, we support the rules. We don’t want these guys to play. We don’t care what the courts say.”
The nuclear option is to say, “Well, if they have to play in our tournaments, we just won’t play.”Davis Love
“The nuclear option is to say, ‘OK, if they have to play at our events, we just won’t play.’
The suspension from the PGA Tour means the likes of Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Patrick Reed can’t represent the United States in September’s Presidents’ Cup when Love is team captain.
“I told the players I spoke to who left or are thinking of leaving, it’s your decision and you do what’s right for you but understand (the) consequences,” Love added.
“I tried to talk like my father, and I probably didn’t do it very well. I didn’t argue. I said you can be Tiger Woods or you can get banned from the game, take your pick.
“But understanding the consequences, you subscribed to these rules. I had to do it before last Friday, otherwise I won’t be able to play this week. I have to play 15 tournaments, otherwise I won’t be able to vote and I won’t get my pension. You have rules that you must follow.
“I said that you are trying to break one important rule, and you will be punished for it.
“And Jay (Monahan, PGA Tour commissioner) has been saying this for a year and some of them understood it, some of them said it wasn’t going to happen and some of them just lied, (saying) ‘I’m not doing it, I’m not doing it. this.”
Love admits he was “completely wrong” when he said six months ago that LIV would not happen and that Phil Mickelson would be the only player to abandon the ship, but added: “I don’t know what will happen from now on. came out, but I know it’s going to be a fight and the players are more and more united against it.”