Judge Rules LIV Golfers Cannot Compete At FedEx Cup Playoffs

The ruling marks a huge victory for the PGA Tour

by

August 9

A Tennessee judge granted the PGA Tour a big win Tuesday ahead of the first stage of the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

A federal judge denied a temporary restraining order to three golfers who were seeking to participate in the FedEx Cup Playoffs on Thursday after leaving the PGA Tour for the upstart LIV Golf Invitational Series, per ESPN’s Mark Schlabach.

Talor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford will sit out the FedEx St. Jude Championship at TPC Southwind. The trio are also named in an antitrust lawsuit involving eight other golfers, including Phil Mickelson.

The top 125 players in the FedEx Cup standings are eligible to compete in the FedEx St. Jude Championship — Gooch is 20th in the standings, Jones is 65th and Swafford is 67th. PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan made it publicly known players who participate in LIV events would be suspended, and the trio received suspensions for doing just that.

U.S. District Court Judge Beth Labson Freeman, of the Northern District of California, ruled the LIV players had not made their case of irreparable harm. Labson agreed with the Tour’s position that the players’ argument for emergency relief was of “their own making.”

“They made a business decision to receive money,” PGA Tour lawyer Elliot Peters argued during the hearing, per Schlabach. “They have made in the last two months more money than they’ve ever made on the PGA Tour. They have already been paid to compensate for what they are here complaining about.”

Sportico legal expert Michael McCann called the ruling “a big legal win for the Tour.”

Cameron Smith, who will participate in the FedEx St. Jude Championship, is reportedly set to join LIV Golf after signing a $100 million contract. But the reigning Open Champion did not comment on his rumored arrival to the Saudi-backed league.

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