11 LIV golf players sued the PGA Tour after last month’s suspensions from playing in the PGA’s upcoming FedEx Cup playoff events. Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, and others won’t be participating in the PGA’s upcoming playoff events after they competed in a LIV Golf tournament.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco Wednesday, calls the suspension unfair. The golfers claim the PGA Tour has used monopoly power to try to squash competition.
While the PGA’s issue with its members participating revolves around scheduling, it’s far from the only conflict with which the golfers — and LIV Golf itself — have had to deal. The league is run by Greg Norman and funded by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.
“These players have made their choice for their own financial-based reasons,” PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan wrote in a memo to address the players’ ineligibility. “Fundamentally, these suspended players — who are now Saudi Golf League employees — have walked away from the tour and now want back in.”
Both PGA Tour and LIV Golf released statements following the filing of the lawsuit over the suspension.
“To allow re-entry into our events compromises the tour and the competition, to the detriment of our organizations, our players, our partners and our fans,” Monohan wrote. “The lawsuit they have filed somehow expects us to believe the opposite, which is why we intend to make our case clearly and vigorously.”
An LIV Golf spokesperson defended the players and their antitrust lawsuit in a statement to Yahoo! Finance: “The players are right to have brought this action to challenge the PGA Tour’s anti-competitive rules and to vindicate their rights as independent contractors to play where and when they choose. Despite the PGA Tour’s effort to stifle competition, we think golfers should be allowed to play golf.”
Norman has said LIV Golf would be willing to financially support any legal matters. Last month, four European tour players won a temporary stay from a U.K. judge that allowed them to play in the Scottish Open.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.