Another day, another lawsuit in the ongoing battle between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour.
LIV Golf and three of its players are currently suing the PGA Tour for antitrust violations, and on Wednesday night the Tour responded to the upstart and filed a counterclaim – led by Greg Norman and backed by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund – with some of its own accusations. .
While the LIV alleges that the Tour is using monopoly power and illegally suspended players, the Tour counterclaim alleges that the LIV is using the players “and the game of golf to clean up Saudi Arabia’s recent history of atrocities and promote the Saudi Public Investment Fund’s Vision 2030 initiatives.” “.
From the counterclaim:
“Indeed, a key component of the LIV strategy was to deliberately encourage tour members to break their tour agreements and participate in LIV events while seeking to maintain their tour membership and participate in important tour events such as the Players Championship and Cup playoffs. FedEx, so LIV can ride for free from the Tour and its platform.
“LIV openly sought to harm the Tour’s business relationship with its members by encouraging them to violate their contractual requirements, even going so far as to pay the members legal fees to make it more tempting to breach their contracts with the Tour.”
Eleven LIV players were part of the original August 3 trial before Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Hudson Swafford and Talor Gooch. asked to be removed on Tuesday, joining Abraham Unser, Carlos Ortiz, Pat Perez and Jason Cocrack, who had previously retired their names. LIV Golf, who joined the lawsuit in an amended complaint filed on August 27, with just three players left: Bryson DeChambeau, Matt Jones and Peter Yulein.
“The plaintiff players who remained in the case,” the argument says, “only want to get rich, completely ignoring the promises they made to the Tour and its members when they joined the Tour.”
“LIV, by its own admission, has managed to attract many elite professional golfers to play in its new league. LIV has hosted many events with a full roster and has announced a full season for 2023. Both LIV and the plaintiff players invested the financial costs of their suspensions into LIV’s exorbitant signing bonuses, making the plaintiff players whole.” “Furthermore, while LIV and the Player Plaintiffs dispute the Tour’s media rights and conflicting event policies as anti-competitive, the LIV imposes similar – in fact far more restrictive – conditions on its players, and the Player Plaintiffs agree with them.
“This is not a case of unfair competition – if anyone is competing unfairly, it’s the LIV, not the Tour. On the contrary, it is a cynical attempt to avoid competition and take advantage of the Tour’s investment in professional golf for free. Plaintiffs’ allegations are groundless and completely void of legal force.”
The US Department of Justice is also investigating Tour’s actions against LIV.
If a PGA Tour vs. LIV Golf, would you play? Presidents Cup Players Answers (and Some May Surprise You)