Judge Hands PGA Tour A Win In Its First Legal Battle With LIV Golf

The first, but certainly not the last, legal battle between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf unfolded on Tuesday afternoon and the Tour came out on top.

As part of the antitrust lawsuit filed by 11 LIV golfers against the PGA Tour, three golfers sought a temporary restraining order in hopes to tee it up in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, which begin on Thursday in Memphis.

Judge Beth Labson Freeman ruled against Matt Jones, Hudson Swafford, and Talor Gooch and the trio will not be playing in the playoffs.

LIV Golf released the following statement shortly after the ruling: “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.”

Hudson Swafford of LIV Golf (Photo by Jamie Squire/LIV Golf via Getty Images)

The PGA Tour indefinitely suspended all LIV golfers from playing in Tour events in June.

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Swafford, Jones, and Gooch had already earned enough points to qualify for the FedEx Cup Playoffs before joining LIV Golf. The three argued they should be allowed to compete in the FedExCup Playoffs largely because it would cause them irreparable financial harm.

While the battle between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour is just getting started, Judge Freeman not awarding the three golfers temporary restraining orders is a win for the Tour.

Phil Mickelson Involved In LIV Golf Lawsuit Against The Tour

Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau are among the group of 11 LIV golfers to file the antitrust lawsuit against the Tour.

“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,” the lawsuit reads in part.

One of the biggest headlines to come from the new lawsuit involves Mickelson.

(Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

Many golf fans and media members suspected that he had been suspended by the Tour following the controversial remarks he made in February, and that the break he took from the game was essentially a forced one by the PGA Tour. The lawsuit alleges that to be the case.

“They’re scary motherf–kers to get involved with,” Mickelson told Alan Shipnuck back in February. “We know they (Saudis) killed [Washington Post reporter and U.S. resident Jamal] Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights. They execute people over there for being gay.”

“Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates.”

The suit says that Mickelson was suspended in March for allegedly recruiting players to play for LIV. He appealed this suspension, but it was denied. The suit claims the Tour said he was forbidden from applying for reinstatement until March 2023, which was extended until March 2024 after he played the second LIV event in Portland.

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Written by Mark Harris

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