Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, nine other people filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour

Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, nine other people filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour


Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and nine players involved with LIV Golf have filed a lawsuit against the PGA Tour alleging antitrust violations and alleging widespread collusive behavior between the tour and several other golf entities.

In the case. The players are challenging their bans from the PGA Tour, some of which extend to 2024. In addition, three players – Taylor Goch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones – are seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent them from playing in the upcoming FedEx tour. Cup qualifiers, where they qualified earlier for this tournament.

One of the more notable charges in the lawsuit involves Mickelson, who remains the most popular player on the LIV Tour. The lawsuit alleges that the PGA Tour suspended Mickelson for two months on March 22, 2022, for, among other reasons, “attempting to join players.” [LIV Golf]He said. When Mickelson applied for reinstatement in June, the tour extended the ban to March 31, 2023, and later extended it another year, after Mickelson played in the first two LIV events. Mickelson cannot apply for reinstatement before March 31, 2024.

DeChambeau, whose charges were stayed until March 31, 2023, said he “talked to other tour members about his positive experience with Levi’s Golf.” Other players, including Abraham Anser, Ghosh, Swafford and Ian Poulter, are banned until March 31, 2024.

The lawsuit states: “In effect, tour penalties are lifetime bans, because the only possibility for a player to be cleared of a PGA Tour ban is to refrain from playing in any major professional events — and essentially quit the tournament. His career.”

The lawsuit also alleges the tour made concerted attempts to restrict LIV players from competing in other events, such as major tournaments.

“Augusta National representatives have threatened to disinvite players from The Masters if they join LIV Golf in February 2022.” “Additionally, Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley has personally instructed several participants in the 2022 Masters not to play in the LIV Golf Invitational Series.”

However, several players, including past defending champion Charles Schwartzel, Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia, have played the 2022 Masters and then joined LIV.

At the 2022 Masters, Ridley Mickelson says he has not been ruled out. Mickelson was on hiatus from golf at the time and also – according to the lawsuit – under suspension from the PGA Tour. Augusta National has not yet responded to a request for comment from Yahoo Sports.

BEDMINSTER, NEW JERSEY - JULY 29: Team Captain Phil Mickelson of High Flyers GC watches a shot on the practice range at the First LIV Golf Invitational - Bedminster at Trump National Golf Club, Bedminster on July 29, 2022 in Bedminster, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jonathan Fairey/LIV Golf via Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson is among 11 golfers to file an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour. (Jonathan Fairey/LIV Golf via Getty Images)

“We didn’t invite Phil,” Ridley said in April. “He’s a three-time Masters champion. … Phil contacted me, I think in late February, early March, and he let me know he wasn’t going to play. That was in writing. I thanked him for the courtesy of letting me know.”

In a letter to players obtained by Yahoo Sports, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan indicated that the Tour plans to “clearly and vigorously” contest the allegations.

“Essentially, these banned players — now employees of the Saudi Golf League — have left the tour and now want to get back in,” Monahan wrote. “With the Saudi Golf League disbanding, they are trying to use lawyers to compete with our members in good standing.”

The suit also alleges that the PGA Tour “threatened to blackball companies and individuals in the golf and sports production industry who partnered with LIV Golf not to do business with the tour.” Vendors, including tent, technology and apparel vendors, either pulled out of deals or didn’t enter into them for fear of losing the PGA Tour’s business, the lawsuit alleges. The lawsuit also alleges that NBC and CBS both kept LIV at arm’s length in connection with the tour.

LIV Golf has attracted publicity for its high payouts to all players competing in its events, as well as upfront signings for players such as Mickelson, Dechambeau and Johnson. However, the lawsuit argues that the advance payments were necessary to convince players to withstand the PGA Tour’s wave of retaliation and that such a business model is a threat to LIV’s long-term viability. LIV is backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, which has already pledged $2 billion to LIV to build a full league over the next three years.

Monahan’s letter to the players did not discuss matters beyond the FedEx Cup playoffs in general terms, but instead focused on the fate of players seeking to make the playoffs.

“Allowing us to try again at our events will ruin the tour and the competition

Harm to our organization, players, partners and fans,” he wrote. “The charges you have made lead us to believe the opposite.”

FedEx Cup play begins next week in Memphis at the FedEx St. Jude Championship. LIV Golf’s next event is scheduled for September 2-4 at The Oaks in Boston.



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