A cadre of golfers including Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau, filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour on Wednesday.
Eleven golfers now on the LIV Golf Series joined the lawsuit, which challenges their suspension from the PGA Tour. Three of the 11 – Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford, Matt Jones – are seeking a temporary restraining order to be allowed to participate in the FedEx Cup playoffs, which begin next week.
That trio qualified for the playoffs but were banned after joining LIV, a competing circuit considered a direct threat to the PGA Tour.
In addition, Abraham Ancer, Jason Kokrak, Carlos Ortiz, Pat Perez, Ian Poulter and Peter Uihlein are listed along with Mickelson in the lawsuit.
Multiple media outlets obtained copies of the lawsuit, first reported on by The Wall Street Journal.
“As part of its carefully orchestrated plan to defeat competition, the Tour has threatened lifetime bans on players who play in even a single LIV Golf event,” the lawsuit says. “It has backed up these threats by imposing unprecedented suspensions on players (including the Plaintiffs) that threaten irreparable harm to the players and their ability to pursue their profession.
“It has threatened sponsors, vendors, and agents to coerce players to abandon opportunities to play in LIV Golf events. And it has orchestrated a per se unlawful group boycott with the European Tour to deny LIV Golf access to their members.”
The FedEx Cup playoffs begin with the St. Jude Classic in Memphis next week. The top 125 players are eligible to play – except for those who opted to play in LIV events.
Gooch is No. 20 in points, Swafford is 63rd and Jones No. 91.
“Banning Plaintiffs and other top professional golfers from its own events degrades the Tour’s strength of field and diminishes the quality of the product that it offers to golf fans by depriving them from seeing many top golfers participate in Tour events,” the lawsuit reads.
“The only conceivable benefit to the Tour from degrading its own product in this manner is the destruction of competition. Indeed, the Tour has conceded its nakedly anticompetitive purpose in attacking and injuring the players.”