SAN JOSE — LIV Golf, a Saudi-funded golf company, has joined the antitrust suit against the PGA Tour in an amended lawsuit in which four players have been removed from their names.
There are seven players left, most notably Phil MickelsonAnd Bryson deChambeauLIV Golf and he were also named as plaintiffs in this lawsuit. The four men who withdrew from the lawsuit are Carlos Ortiz, Abraham Ancer, Pat PerezAnd Jason Kokrak.
Friday afternoon, the amended complaint was filed in U.S. District Court Northern California. The lawsuit is still being litigated by three players Matt Jones, Talor GoochAnd Hudson Swafford— previously sought temporary restraining orders to play in the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Two weeks ago, the judge denied their request.
The lawsuit alleges that the PGA Tour used monopoly power in an attempt to squash competition and unfairly suspended players.
Greg NormanLIV Golfs CEO, said that the league would fully support players in any legal action. LIV Golf, which is backed by the Saudi Arabian sovereign fund, is now directly involved.
LIV Golf claims that it will lose its ability to be a competitive player in the markets if the complaint is not amended.
LIV Golf claims that the PGA Tours restrictions forced it to increase its costs to sign players and prevented it from recruiting other people who fear being punished. LIV Golf claims that the tour forced it to delay its launch in 2022 and have a smaller schedule its first year.
LIV Golf has offered signing fees to several major names that are worth $150 million or more. This is in addition to the $25,000,000 in prize money at each event. LIV Golf is currently hosting three tournaments. The fourth tournament will be held next weekend in Boston.
LIV Golfs tour was launched despite supracompetitive costs and reduced access to players. However, the amended complaint states that LIV Golf is facing headwinds from this nature isnt sustainable.
The PGA Tour has always maintained that members must have a release for any conflicting events in order to play overseas. Releases are not granted for North American events. Five of these LIV events are included in the 2019 schedule.
Players who play in LIV Golf without a release have been suspended by the tour. Most suspensions are until March 2024.
U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman ruled against the temporary restraining orders. She said that LIV Golf didnt show irreparable injury due to how much money the players were making from signing and prize money, and that PGA Tour rules to suspend players in this instance was reasonable.
Freeman scheduled a summary hearing for July 23, 2023 and a tentative trial date of Jan. 8, 2024.
LIV Golf has already signed more than two dozen PGA Tour players. It is expected to sign six more players after the PGA Tours season ends Sunday in Atlanta at The Tour Championship.