Sports | August 10, 2022 12:35 pm

Fred Couples Slams LIV Golf as Saudi Series Accuses Tiger Woods of Doing PGA Tour’s Bidding

LIV continues to make headlines even though the Saudi-backed series has only had three events to date

Tiger Woods talks to Fred Couples at the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club in 2020
Tiger Woods and Fred Couples are both staunch backers of the PGA Tour.
Getty Images

In an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour, which was partially dealt with yesterday by U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman in a California courtroom, the LIV Golf Series accused pro golf’s top circuit of getting Tiger Woods to “publicly criticize” players for joining the Saudi-backed league.

Filed by players Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Ian Poulter, the suit claims the PGA Tour has asked Woods, who has ripped LIV Golf at every opportunity after turning down $800 million to join the Saudi series, to go after his fellow golfers publicly for defecting to the rebel league. “The Tour also got Tiger Woods to do its bidding and publicly criticize golfers — particularly younger golfers — for joining LIV Golf by suggesting they would never play in The Masters, The Open, or other Majors and would not earn OWGR points,” per the suit.

The lawsuit mentions nothing about Fred Couples, so it’s safe to assume he’s been ripping LIV Golf of his volition.

Couples, who has previously vented about LIV and its CEO and commissioner Greg Norman to, spoke with reporters at the Shaw Charity Classic about the new series, which has only had three events to date.

“All these guys think they’re changing the game and to me it’s comical, it’s really comical,” Couples said. “To have music on every tee and have people drinking beers and think that’s cool. I never thought the cast and crew that would do that would be the guys doing it. And I have a funny feeling I know where it’s coming and it’s coming from their leader, who no one’s liked for 25 years. And that’s not being mean, that’s just — that’s the truth. He’s not a friend of mine, but he never would be because we don’t get along. But he’s running a tour that he thinks is incredible.”

The aforementioned Judge Freeman does not seem to share Norman’s view and ruled on Tuesday that three golfers — Talor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford — who are part of the antitrust suit and were seeking a temporary restraining order that would allow them to play in the season-ending FedEx Cup playoffs are ineligible for the three-tournament competition due to the involvement with LIV. Though she didn’t touch on the antitrust issue, Freeman noted the LIV defectors knew what they were doing when they left the PGA Tour. “The evidence shows almost without a doubt they will be earning more than they would have made and could have reasonably been expected to make in a reasonable period of time under the tournaments,” Freeman said.

A LIV spokesman said in a statement Tuesday: “We’re disappointed that Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones won’t be allowed to play golf. No one gains by banning golfers from playing.”

That’s likely not how the PGA Tour, Couples or Woods see it.