Phil Mickelson Leads 11 LIV Golfers in Antitrust Lawsuit Against PGA Tour

The members of the Saudi-backed golf circuit are challenging their suspensions from the PGA Tour, and some are seeking the right to play in the upcoming FedEx Cup Playoffs

Phil Mickelson is taking his beef with the PGA Tour to the courtroom.
Phil Mickelson watches a shot on the practice range at the LIV Golf Invitational - Bedminster.
Jonathan Ferrey/LIV Golf via Getty

In an interview with Tucker Carlson for Fox News that took place at Donald Trump’s golf course in New Jersey over the weekend, Bryson DeChambeau tried to explain away the growing rift between the PGA Tour and the LIV Golf Series by talking somewhat nonsensically about pizza shops.

“Let’s use this as a reference. I heard this earlier this week,” he said. “You have a pizza shop that’s been in existence for 50 years. And all the customers go to it and it’s a great product. All of a sudden, a new pizza shop opens up, right? And they start paying the customers to come eat at their place, and that pizza is potentially a little bit better of a pizza, right? And then, all of a sudden, that original pizza house goes, if you go over there, we’re banning you from ever coming back to our pizza shop. What’s wrong with that economic model?”

A lot, but it’s not worth addressing here. What is worthy of mention is that DeChambeau’s slice shops are going to war.

A group of 11 LIV golfers that is highlighted by Phil Mickelson and also includes 28-year-old DeChambeau has filed an antitrust lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco challenging their suspensions from the PGA Tour. First reported by The Wall Street Journal, the complaint also includes an application for a temporary restraining order for Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones that would allow them to compete in the upcoming FedEx Cup Playoffs. (Considering how they are doing at LIV, it’s no wonder Mickelson and DeChambeau want back on the Tour.)

In addition to the five golfers mentioned above, Ian Poulter, Abraham Ancer, Carlos Ortiz, Pat Perez, Jason Kokrak and Peter Uihlein are the LIVers who have attached their names to the suit. “The Tour’s conduct serves no purpose other than to cause harm to players and foreclose the entry of the first meaningful competitive threat the Tour has faced in decades,” per the suit.

Should the lawsuit prove successful and the PGA Tour be forced to allow LIV defectors back onto the series, the Tour may be looking at an entirely different problem with its product…

“We welcome good, healthy competition. The LIV Saudi Golf League is not that. It’s an irrational threat; one not concerned with the return on investment or true growth of the game,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has said in the past. “If this is an arms race and if the only weapons here are dollar bills, the PGA Tour can’t compete. The PGA Tour, an American institution, can’t compete with a foreign monarchy that is spending billions of dollars in an attempt to buy the game of golf.”

With reputations and big dollars on the line and Donald Trump involved, this could get ugly, fast.

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