WSJ - Eleven golfers on the Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit—including Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau—filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour Wednesday challenging their suspensions, the opening salvo in a legal fight that could reverberate across professional sports.
The group includes three players—Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones—who are seeking a temporary restraining order that would allow them to play in the Tour’s FedEx Cup Playoffs, which begin next week. Each had qualified for the playoffs before signing on to play for LIV, before being told by the PGA Tour they were being excluded from the event because of their participation in the LIV series….
…The complaint and application for a temporary restraining order were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Ian Poulter, Abraham Ancer, Carlos Ortiz, Pat Perez, Jason Kokrak and Peter Uihlein round out the golfers putting their names to the suit, arguing that the PGA Tour is trying to hurt their careers.
Most of that article is paywalled, but the major takeaway here in the short term is that some of these guys want the spot they had earned in this year’s PGA Tour playoffs and they want it ASAP. It’s just a mere 8 days away and they’re clearly pushing for some sort of injunction to at least be included in those events.
Ian Poulter (and two others) filed and successfully earned a stay in order to play in the Scottish Open last month ahead of The Open. This has gotta be the playbook for those guys. But that wasn’t filed over here in the States. I’m not a lawyer but I’ve gotta imagine that holds no weight over here.
Here’s my take: these guys knew the repercussions of going to LIV well in advance of doing so. Maybe the Tour had the right to suspend them, maybe they didn’t. But it was certainly a risk that things were going to be tied up in court and things were gonna get hella uncomfortable for everybody involved. Greg Norman has preached that “free agency has finally arrived in professional golf”. So if that’s the case, why are you trying to play for two teams? I can understand wanting to rake in every dollar you can, but the premise of going to LIV was that the money was too good to pass up. Trying to play both Tours is very much the definition of trying to have your cake and eat it too.
What’s fucked up is that there are a good handful of guys who have grinded on Tour all year and are right on the bubble of retaining their Tour cards. They’ve remained loyal and they’ve worked hard for the opportunity to fill the shoes of these guys who have jumped ship. How fair is it for those guys to get caught in the crossfire here?
At the end of the day, the defectors have gotta see the situation for what it is. The score was very clear. They chose to leave the PGA Tour and now they should have to LIV with it.