LIV Golf was sued by the PGA Tour on Wednesday for allegedly violating existing contracts with its members.
LIV Golf brought a federal antitrust lawsuit against PGA Tour. LIV Golf claims that the PGA Tour suspended players from competing in LIV Golf tournaments. LIV Golf also claims that the PGA Tour is using its monopoly power in squash competition.
LIV Golf claims that it has launched a campaign to pay its golfers astronomical amounts of money to induce them into breaking their contracts with Tour in an attempt to use the LIV players and the game of Golf to sportswash the recent history and atrocities in Saudi Arabia and to further the Saudi Public Investment Fund’s Vision 2030 initiatives.
LIV Golf officials had advised players that their agreements were unenforceable. LIV Golf officials, however, entered into their own agreements that impose contractual limitations on the LIV Players more difficult in scope and length than any Tour regulations they challenge.
The motion contained a text message that Greg Norman, LIV Golf CEO and Commissioner, purportedly sent Spains ambassador. Sergio GarciaNorman wrote in this article: They cannot ban them for one day, let alone life. It is a superficial threat. Ask them to write to you, or any player. Im sure they dont. We are happy to speak with anyone who is interested to understand why they dont have any chance of enforcing.
In the motion, the PGA Tour claims that its Player Handbook & Tournament Regulations, which allowed it to suspend more than two dozen members for competing in LIV Golf events, contributes to its success and to generating higher sponsorship and broadcast revenues, which result in increased prize money and benefits for its players.
Through this lawsuit LIV asks for the Court to invalidate the wholly legitimate provisions with a stroke of a pen after inducing those same regulations to be violated by the remaining Player Plaintiffs with hundreds of million dollars in Saudi money, the PGA Tour motion stated. The Player plaintiffs that remain in the case — eight players from the original 11 have withdrawn their names already — want to gain nothing but financial independence, in total disregard for the promises they made to Tour members and the Tour.
Six-time major winner Phil MickelsonThree other players Ian Poulter, Hudson SwaffordAnd Talor Gooch— A judge was asked to be Removed as plaintiffsin the antitrust matter. Four other participants were also part of the original lawsuit Abraham Ancer, Carlos Ortiz, Pat PerezAnd Jason Kokrak— are also not involved in the case.
The Tour has made these counterclaims as a transparent attempt to divert attention away from their anti-competitive behavior, which LIV Golf and the players detail on their 104-page complaint, LIV Golf stated Thursday. We remain confident the courts and justice system will rectify these wrongs.
The U.S. Department of Justice launched an investigation into the PGA Tours alleged monopolistic behavior in dealing LIV Golf and its members. This is something the tour denies.
[T]The motion was denied by the PGA Tour attorneys. LIV has admitted that it has attracted many elite professional golfers to its new league. LIV has held many events with full fields and announced a full season of 2023. LIV and the Player Plaintiffs hid the financial cost of their suspensions in LIVs exorbitant sign bonuses, making the Player Plaintiffs right. LIV and the Player Plaintiffs are challenging the Tours media rights, conflicting events policies, as anticompetitive. However, LIV imposes similar, if not more restrictive, conditions on its players and the Player Plaintiffs have accepted them.
This case isnt about unfair competition. If anyone is competing unfairly, its LIV, and not the Tour. Instead, it is a cynical effort by the Tour to avoid competition. Plaintiffs claims are completely without legal merit and are totally baseless.