Golf: LIV Golf joins anti-trust lawsuit against PGA Tour

Phil Mickelson (above) is one of seven players still named on the lawsuit, along with Bryson DeChambeau, Ian Poulter, Matt Jones, Talor Gooch, Peter Uihlein and Hudson Swafford. PHOTO: REUTERS

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - The Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series has joined an anti-trust lawsuit against the US PGA Tour brought by players who defected to the rebel circuit and received indefinite PGA suspensions.

An amended complaint filed on Friday (Aug 26) in US District Court at San Jose contends the PGA has used a monopoly position to restrict competition and unfairly banned those who left for LIV Golf.

The suit was originally filed by 11 LIV Golf players but four players were not in the updated filing - Mexico's Abraham Ancer and Carlos Ortiz and Americans Pat Perez and Jason Kokrak.

Seven still on the lawsuit include Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Ian Poulter, Matt Jones, Talor Gooch, Peter Uihlein and Hudson Swafford.

LIV Golf seeks punitive damages from the PGA for what it calls "egregious interference" with contract and potential business relationships.

Swafford, Gooch and Jones were denied a chance to participate in the PGA's FedEx Cup playoffs when a judge rejected a legal appeal.

A hearing on the matter is set for next July while a trial date for the lawsuit is set for January 2024.

LIV Golf has attracted several big name players, including Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed, with record purses of US$25 million (S$35 million) and guaranteed contracts for some talent.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan announced on Wednesday several changes for the 2023 season that will see top players appear in 12 "elevated" events with average prize money of US$20 million and guaranteed income of US$500,000 for all fully exempt PGA players in moves to combat the LIV Golf threat.

LIV Golf reportedly will announce more PGA players have joined the series following this weekend's PGA season-ending Tour Championship.

The next LIV Golf events, which feature only 54 holes instead of 72 and shotgun starts on every hole on a course, are next week in Boston and two weeks later in Chicago.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.