Tuesday October 3, 2023

Mickelson, 10 Other LIV Golf Players Suing PGA Tour

  • Federal lawsuit alleges the PGA Tour "carefully orchestrated plan to defeat” LIV Golf.
  • Complaint also seeks a temporary injunction that would pause suspensions.
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
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Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, and nine other LIV Golf competitors filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour in federal court Wednesday, alleging their suspensions are part of a “carefully orchestrated plan to defeat” the Saudi-backed upstart tour.

Beyond the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford, and Matt Jones requested a temporary restraining order that — if granted — would allow them to compete in the FedEx Cup Playoffs next weekend in Memphis. 

Pressure applied by the PGA Tour forced LIV Golf “to cancel its 2022 business plan,” which included a full-fledged league with more golfers, a TV deal, and more events, per the lawsuit.

LIVing Well

While Tiger Woods turned down an offer between $700 million to $800 million to join LIV Golf, several others on the PGA Tour defected — and were paid handsomely. 

  • The Tour increased golfer compensation $135 million in response to LIV’s launch, per the lawsuit. 
  • Tour purses grew only 2.5% per year on average from 2014 through 2019, far behind major sports leagues.
  • Brooks Koepka, who now plays for LIV Golf, topped the 2019 PGA Tour money list at $9.68 million and has already made an estimated $69 million this year. 

In a letter to members, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan stated that the lawsuit, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, was essentially 11 players “trying to use lawyers to force their way into competition alongside our members in good standing.” 

Editor’s note: For more on this story, click here.

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