Several 11 LIV Golfers led by Americans Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau filed an antitrust lawsuit contrary to the PGA Tour in federal court Wednesday, setting the stage for a contentious legal battle between your rival golf circuits.
The PGA Tourwhich has suspended all members who play in LIV Golf eventshas acted in a nakedly anticompetitive manner and seeks the destruction of competition, the 11 golfers wrote in a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court of Northern California.
Three of the golfersTalor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swaffordasked a judge to issue a temporary restraining order to allow them to play in the PGA Tours FedEx Cup Playoffs.
The suit comes as a surprise given the PGA Tour confirmed last month the Department of Justice had launched an antitrust investigation, and many legal experts told Forbes last month they expected golfers to await results from the federal probe instead of taking action of these own given the hefty legal expenses connected with antitrust suits.
Financed by the Saudi Arabias sovereign wealth fund, LIV Golf has signed away 10 of the very best 50 ranked golfers on earth because of huge contracts. The PGA Tour responded in June by suspending DeChambeau, Mickelson along with other tour members slated to play in LIV Golf events. The PGA Tour has argued internally and externally that it have not acted within an anticompetitive manner, telling tour members in a memo obtained by Forbes last month it really is confident that it has acted, and can continue steadily to act, completely compliance with the antitrust laws. A 1990s antitrust investigation by the Federal Trade Commission didn’t discover the PGA Tour guilty, an undeniable fact alluded to by the tour in the memo sent after news of the Justice Department investigation broke. However, Marc Edelman, a professor of law at Baruch Colleges Zicklin School of Business, told Forbes last month that the outcomes of the sooner probe may no more be considered a fair precedent given the federal governments recent handling of sports antitrust cases.
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan accused the golfers suing the tour of attempting to use lawyers to force their way into competition alongside our members in good standing, in a memo delivered to players provided to Forbes along with other outlets. Monahan only described LIV Golf because the Saudi Golf League in the letter.
The players are to have brought this step to challenge the PGAs anti-competitive rules also to vindicate their rights as independent contractors to play where so when they choose, LIV Golf spokesperson Jane MacNeille said within an emailed statement to Forbes. Regardless of the PGA Tours effort to stifle competition, we think golfers ought to be permitted to play golf.
The PGA Tour first suspended Mickelson in March for purportedly recruiting tour players to LIV Golf, the lawsuit alleges, far sooner than when his suspension was initially announced alongside 16 others in June. Mickelson struggles to make an application for reinstatement until March 2024, based on the complaint.