PGA Tour lawsuit response: LIV Golf players ‘manufacture an emergency’ to make playoffs

In a scathing response to a months-long legal challenge, the PGA Tour has hit back at a group of players seeking to circumvent their suspensions for playing Saudi-backed LIV golf events and competing in the FedEx St. Jude this week. , the first of three playoff events.

The response to last week’s antitrust lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, was filed on Monday. The hearing for the temporary restraining order is scheduled for Tuesday in San Jose, Calif., at 1:00 p.m. PT. The players will not be present at the hearing.

“The [temporary restraining order] the plaintiffs waited nearly two months to seek redress from the court, fabricating an “emergency” which they now maintain as requiring immediate action,” the Tour statement read.

PGA Tour responds to LIV Golf players’ lawsuit

“Despite knowing full well that they would violate Tour rules and be suspended for it, the plaintiffs joined rival golf league LIV Golf, which paid them tens and hundreds of millions of dollars in guaranteed money. provided by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund to procure TRO Plaintiffs are now appearing in court seeking a mandatory injunction to force their way into the Tour’s end-of-season FedExCup playoffs, an action that would harm all members of the Whoever follows the rules. Antitrust laws don’t allow plaintiffs to have their cake and eat it too.”

The antitrust lawsuit includes 11 suspended players, including Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau, but only three of those players – Talor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford – are seeking a temporary restraining order from the court to play in the FedExCup playoffs.

The case against also claims that the players knew since June 9 that their participation in LIV Golf events would result in suspensions, which span nearly two years, according to the lawsuit. The Tour’s motion also emphasizes that not all suspended players are pushing to play in the playoffs.

“In a telltale sign, several other LIV actors, including four other plaintiffs in this case, acknowledge that there is no urgency or irreparable harm; they too “qualified” to play in the FedExCup but did not seek the extraordinary relief sought by this motion in court,” the response read.

The 105-page lawsuit claims that “the Tour has flexed its monopoly power in place, including by enforcing its illegal player restrictions that deprive players of the ability to sell their services to others, imposing lengthy suspensions on players for having merely exercised their right as independent contractors”.

“Player participation in the LIV league is in violation of PGA Tour rules. [handbook]”, Elliot Peters, the Tour’s lead lawyer in the case, said in a statement. “For huge sums of money provided by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the plaintiffs willfully violated their agreements with the PGA Tour. The alleged player prejudice is entirely self-induced.

The first playoff event begins Thursday in Memphis.

Michael C. Ford