The beef between the PGA Tour and a number of its former golfers is about to get messy.
According to ESPN, a group of current LIV golfers — including Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau — have filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour for its handling of their defection to the Saudi-backed tour.
The other plaintiffs are Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford, Matt Jones, Carlos Ortiz, Ian Poulter, Peter Uihlein, Jason Kokrak, Pat Perez and Abraham Ancer.
“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 reads, per ESPN. “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.”
Three of those plaintiffs — Gooch, Swafford and Jones — are seeking a temporary restraining order from a federal judge that would allow them to compete in the upcoming FedEx Cup playoffs.
The lawsuit is unprecedented in the golf world, just as the majority of actions that have happened between the two tours have been since LIV’s foundation. Though less than half of the total players who defected are represented, it is said to be a major step back at the PGA on behalf of LIV.