Mickelson and other LIV golfers filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour

Eleven golfers affiliated with the breakaway LIV Golf Series have filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour, challenging its suspension and other restrictive measures used to punish participation in Saudi-backed LIV events.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges that the PGA Tour unfairly controls players with anticompetitive restrictions to protect its longtime monopoly on professional golf.

The lawsuit — filed on behalf of Phil Mickelson and others — alleges the tour “had the audacity to harm” their careers and livelihoods. “The tour’s illegal strategy was detrimental to players and succeeded in jeopardizing other promising LIV Golf launches,” it said.

Some players, including Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones, also sought orders to compete in the FedEx Cup playoffs, the PGA Tour’s season-ending championship event.

The penalty that would be imposed on these players by not being able to play in the FedEx Cup Playoffs is substantial and irreparable, and a temporary restraining order is needed to prevent irreparable harm that would result if they are unable to participate. the complaint said.

LIV Golf is funded by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, overseen by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and has become a lightning rod for human rights activists who accuse Saudi Arabia of using the sport to whitewash its reputation.

It also caused an uproar among professional golfers for a revival of the sport itself. The series has wooed several prominent players from the PGA Tour with large upfront payments and appearance fees. Mickelson, a six-time major winner, took home $200 million.

According to Greg Norman, Tiger Woods, who has been highly critical of the LIV format and the ousters from the PGA Tour, saying they “turned their backs on what got them into this position,” rejected an offer of about $700 million to join LIV. A former championship golfer who is the CEO of LIV.

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