September 26, 2022

Brighton Journal

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Judge allows PGA Tour to keep LIV Golf players out of FedEx Cup 2022 qualifiers

Judge allows PGA Tour to keep LIV Golf players out of FedEx Cup 2022 qualifiers

A federal judge on Tuesday rejected a temporary restraining order, allowing the PGA Tour to restrict access to the FedEx Cup 2022 qualifiers from three Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf players who have sued in hopes of participating in the post-season competition. Taylor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford will not participate in any of the three tournaments as a motion to reject the PGA Tour has been granted by U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman.

“It appears to the court that the LIV contracts, which were negotiated by the players and entered into between the parties, were based on the players calculating what they would leave behind and the amount the players would need to generate income to compensate for those losses,” Judge Freeman said in her ruling. “I agree with [the PGA Tour] Those losses were known to the players at the time and it was clear that they made profits.”

Citing the inability of the LIV golfers to demonstrate irreparable harm in their case, Judge Freeman added: “The evidence indicates that it appears almost beyond doubt that they would gain more than they earned and could reasonably have been expected to achieve in a reasonable amount of time under the PGA.”

The decision in a courtroom in the Northern District of California gives the PGA Tour its first clear victory over LIV Golf. The verdict comes two days before the St. Jude 2022 tournament begins to kick off the FedEx Cup playoffs.

Gooch (No. 20), Jones (No. 65) and Swafford (No. 67) will not be able to capitalize on their positions in the FedEx Cup standings; It’s all on the indoor track not only for play in this week’s event in Memphis but also in next week’s BMW Championship where the top 70 players qualify. Gooch was in a strong position to finish in the top 30, which would have put him in the Tour Championship as exceptions are made for the Masters, US Open and The Open next year.

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“With today’s news, players, fans and partners can now focus on what really matters for the next three weeks: the world’s best players competing in the FedExCup qualifiers,” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement.

A group of 10 LIV golfers, including Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau – initially 11 until Carlos Ortiz removed his name from the proceedings – filed an antitrust lawsuit in federal court last week in hopes of letting him play on the PGA Tour again. The PGA Tour insisted that golfers made a conscious decision to leave its membership when they chose to play at the LIV. Therefore, these golfers were not eligible to play future PGA Tour events.

Judge Freeman agreed, noting the PGA Tour’s position that golfers know the consequences of their decision to play LIV Golf.

“Despite knowing full well that they would be in breach of tour regulations and being suspended for doing so, the plaintiffs joined rival golf league LIV Golf, which has paid them tens and hundreds of millions of dollars in guaranteed money provided by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund to purchase the PGA Tour in their movement,” she said. .”[Temporary restraining order] The plaintiffs are now going to court for a mandatory injunction to force them into the season-ending FedEx Cup qualifiers on the Tour, an action that would harm all Tour members who follow the rules. Antitrust laws do not allow plaintiffs to eat their cake and eat it too.”

While the PGA Tour won that ruling, legal wrangling between tournaments is expected to continue as the broader antitrust lawsuit has yet to be decided. The start of this legal saga dates back to June 9 when the PGA Tour suspended members who participated in the inaugural LIV Golf event in London. Some chose to resign from their PGA Tour memberships, while others aimed to fight for the ability to play in both leagues.

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“They have made a commercial decision to receive the money,” PGA Tour attorney Elliott Peters said. “They’ve made – in the last couple of months – more money than they made on the PGA Tour. They’ve already been paid to make up for what they’re complaining about here.”

LIV Golf members will now turn their attention to Boston for the upcoming league event, scheduled for September 2-4.

LIV Golfer will not be allowed to participate in the FedEx Cup qualifiers following Tuesday’s court ruling. Rick Gehmann, Kyle Porter, Sia Nejad break it all. Go ahead and listen to The First Cut on Apple Podcast And the spotify.