Phil Mickelson is among 11 players who joined the LIV Golf Invitational Series who are suing the PGA Tour for violating antitrust laws, with three of them seeking an injunction so they can play in the FedEx Cup playoffs next week.
The Wall Street Journal first reported that players are challenging their suspensions by the PGA Tour, which is issuing indefinite suspensions for any player who competed in a LIV Golf event without getting a conflicting event statement. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Northern California.
The Tour has announced that it will not grant such releases for the eight events that will be played this year at the end of May; he has never granted such releases for domestic tournaments played opposite PGA Tour events.
Bryson DeChambeau is another player who is part of the lawsuit, as are three – Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones – who are seeking restraining orders so they can play in the playoffs that begin next week at the FedEx St. Jude Invitational. and follows with the BMW Championship and then the Tour Championship. Gooch is 20 years olde in the FedEx Cup standings, with Jones 62nd and Swafford 63rd, so each would qualify easily.
“The players are right to have brought this action to challenge the PGA’s anti-competitive rules and to assert their rights as independent contractors to play wherever and whenever they choose,” LIV Golf said in a statement. “Despite the PGA Tour’s efforts to stifle competition, we believe golfers should be allowed to play golf.”
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LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman recently told Sports Illustrated that LIV will support players who have chosen to pursue the Tour because of their belief that as independent contractors they should not be banned from playing in LIV Golf events.
Norman has long argued that as independent contractors, players should have the ability to play whenever they want outside of the PGA Tour.
“I always told them we would support you,” Norman said. “I’ve been open and honest with all of them. We will support them financially with representation because we believe 100% that we are right. You can’t guarantee anything, but the indicators are pointing in that direction.”
Other players taking part in the trial are Abraham Ancer, Carlos Ortiz, Ian Poulter, Pat Perez, Jason Kokrak and Peter Uihlein.
The complaint also reveals that Mickelson – long thought to be suspended by the PGA Tour before his LIV commitment – was suspended on March 23 due to his recruiting of players for LIV Golf. The PGA Tour never disclosed this, nor did Mickelson.