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Phil Mickelson And Other Golfers Sue PGA Over Suspensions For Playing In Saudi-Backed League, Claim PGA Rules Golf With An Iron Fist

golf
Source: MEGA

Aug. 3 2022, Published 3:30 p.m. ET

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A group of 11 golfers, including some of the biggest names in the sport, have sued the PGA alleging the governing body is violating antitrust laws, according to a lawsuit obtained by Radar.

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The golfers in the lawsuit include Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Ian Poulter and Peter Uihlein. The suit was filed in a federal court in California and named the PGA Tour as the defendant.

The suit comes on the heels of the PGA tour suspending golfers, including the 11 in the lawsuit, for participating in the Saudi-back LIV golf events. The LIV league has offered substantial paydays to get the best in the world to compete, but some have worried it will lead to the end of the PGA.

Recently, the LIV tour held an event in New Jersey at a club owned by former President Donald Trump.

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golf
Source: MEGA

The PGA has threatened lifetime bans and issued suspended to golfers who play in events sanctioned by the upstart league. Now, the golfers are accusing the governing body of acting as a monopoly.

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“Before LIV Golf’s entry, golfers who sold their services in the elite professional golf services market had no meaningful option but to play on the Tour if they wanted to pursue their profession at the highest levels,” the suit obtained by Radaronline.com read.

“This provided the Tour with enormous power over the players, including the ability to force players into restrictive terms that foreclose them from playing in competing events and the ability to suppress player compensation below competitive levels.”

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golf
Source: MEGA

The players said they receive a lower percentage of the Tour’s revenue than professional athletes in other major sports. The golfers added that the PGA tour is tax-exempt, but the other leagues are not.

PGA tour events have long been the only option for the best players in the world, according to the suit. The Tour holds a media rights deal that prohibited members of appearing at any other golf event across the world.

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Those regulations prevent golfers from competing in any event the PGA deems as a threat, the suit read.

“It is no secret that the PGA Tour is targeting players in order to defeat the threat of competitive entry,” the filing noted.

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“The PGA Tour has been clear since the threat of competitive entry emerged that its most powerful weapon to defeat competition is to target its members—who comprise virtually all of the elite professional golfers in the world—to prevent them from playing on a competing tour.”

golf
Source: MEGA
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Not only has the PGA suspended the golfers who participated in the LIV events, but it has threatened sponsors demanding that they end their relationship with the players, according to the lawsuit.

The golfers have asked for an unspecified amount of money. They also asked for an order that would let them play in the upcoming PGA Fed Ex championship events.

The PGA has yet to respond to the lawsuit.

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