LIV Golf doesn’t sound too appreciative about Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and other big-name PGA Tour players having a closed-door meeting about the future of golf. The Saudi-backed circuit wants to know what was discussed, and it has been reported that McIlroy and Woods have been served a subpoena to reveal details of the meeting.
Larry Klayman is the lawyer seeking to force Woods and McIlroy to testify under oath in regards to the players-only meeting. Klayman does not represent LIV Golf.
News of Woods and McIlroy being subpoenaed comes just as the PGA Tour announced major changes to its future schedule. The Tour is introducing an overhaul to operations that includes a series of elevated events, larger purses, and simply more money to be made. McIlroy and Woods spearhead these changes, but the pair has been the most outspoken against LIV among PGA Tour players.
According to a news release, the Tour is being accused of being “anticompetitive and violative of the antitrust laws vis as vis the LIV Golf Tour and its players.” The release notes that Woods, McIlroy, and PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan have been given notices of deposition for late September.
“It’s about getting information about what occurred at the players’ meeting and generally with regard to allegations in our complaint that the PGA Tour, the DP World Tour and their commissioners Jay Monahan and Keith Pelley, are allegedly colluding in restraint of trade and the antitrust laws to harm the LIV Golf Tour and its players,” Klayman reportedly claims.
Among the many changes coming to the PGA Tour there are two, in particular, that stand out.
The Tour’s Player Impact Program (PIP) will pay the Top 20 players on that list a total of $100 million. This is an increase from the top 10 players receiving $50 million in years past. There is also the introduction of elevated events on the schedule, with four of them yet to be named, that will carry an average purse of at least $20 million each.
Klayman referred to these additions from the Tour as “LIV light” and an attempt “to emulate LIV Golf, while continuing to allegedly harm LIV and its players.”
LIV Golf will hold 14 events in 2023 with a total purse of $405 million, a $150 million increase from its 2022 schedule.
Why The Serving Of Subpoenas Is Ridiculous
I am no lawyer, but you don’t have to be a lawyer to realize how petty and hypocritical this move is.
LIV Golf has disrupted the world of golf – which I’m not saying is a bad thing – with guaranteed paydays and sign-on fees of over $100 million for certain players. The PGA Tour had to react, and now that it has, Klayman is essentially accusing the Tour of copying its model because they’re simply putting more money into the pockets of their top players.
It’s not just the money, it’s the fact they came up with that extremely predictable idea behind closed doors that seems to have Klayman upset.
Are we supposed to believe that there haven’t been closed-door meetings between LIV Golf officials and its players? This is a league funded by Saudi Arabia’s Private Investment Fund, which isn’t exactly run by the most up-front and public people.
Both the PGA Tour and LIV Golf are trying to do what’s best for their business models and players during an unprecedented battle in the sport.
LIV Golf has thrown and landed a series of punches. Now that the Tour has thrown its first punch, McIlroy, Woods, and Monahan are now being summoned to share details of something that was no more than a business meeting.
This isn’t anticompetitive behavior, its competitive behavior, which is something LIV Golf signed up for when they burst onto the scene.
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris