PGA Tour Countersuit Accuses LIV Golf Of Unfair Tactics

Sep 29, 2022, 4:37 PM


Phil Mickelson of the United States on the third green during Day One of the LIV Golf Invitational - Boston at The Oaks golf course at The International on September 02, 2022 in Bolton, Massachusetts. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The PGA Tour has filed a counterclaim against Saudi-funded LIV Golf accusing the rival league of inducing top players to breach PGA Tour contracts by claiming the tour could not enforce them.

The counterclaim was included in the PGA Tour’s response to the amended antitrust lawsuit filed in federal court in northern California, which included LIV Golf as a plaintiff.

Since then, eight of the 11 players who sued the PGA Tour, including Phil Mickelson, have asked to be removed from the lawsuit. Mickelson said his involvement was no longer necessary with LIV Golf now suing the tour.

In the response to the lawsuit filed late Wednesday, the PGA Tour claims LIV Golf is asking the court to invalidate its regulations “with the stroke of a pen” after inducing players with hundreds of millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

The tour said the three players who are still part of the antitrust lawsuit — Talor Gooch, Peter Uihlein and Matt Jones — “want to enrich themselves in complete disregard of the promises they made to the tour” when they joined the PGA Tour.

“This case is not about unfair competition — if anyone is competing unfairly, it is LIV, not the tour. Instead, it is a cynical effort to avoid competition and to freeride off of the tour’s investment in the development of professional golf,” the response said.

The counterclaim alleges “tortious interference with contract.”

Among other things, the tour claims LIV Golf paid signing fees — some reported to be in the $150 million range — and made false representations to players to break agreements they had with the tour.

The tour asked for a jury trial on the counterclaim and seeks damages for any lost profits, reputational and brand harm, punitive damages and attorney fees.

LIV Golf has claimed in its lawsuit the PGA Tour has used monopoly power to try to squash competition and has unfairly suspended players.

Greg Norman, the CEO of LIV Golf, has said players should be able to be free agents who can compete anywhere. The PGA Tour has policies that keep members from playing the same week as a PGA Tour event without a release.

In its response, the PGA Tour said LIV Golf’s own business plan “demonstrates this is fiction.” The tour pointed to LIV Golf contracts that require them to play in all LIV Golf events and other agreements it claims are more restrictive than the tour’s policies.

“LIV’s statements regarding golfer freedom are a thinly veiled public relations ploy concocted to disparage the tour and deflect criticism of LIV’s own restrictive business model,” the counterclaim says.

Players who signed with LIV Golf were suspended for not having a release. The tour’s policy indicates no releases are given for competing tournaments in North America, and LIV Golf already has staged four events in the United States.

Gooch, Jones and Hudson Swafford — who no longer is part of the lawsuit — sought a temporary restraining order in August that would have allowed them to play in the PGA Tour’s lucrative postseason. A federal judge denied the request.

Summary judgment in the antitrust lawsuit is tentatively scheduled for July 23, 2023, when the tour is expected to ask for the case to be dismissed.

A trial date is set for January 2024.



Kyle Ireland

Instant Replay: Tony Finau Hits Flagstick On Unlucky Shot At Hero World Challenge

Utahn and PGA Tour golfer Tony Finau hit the top of the flagstick during an unlucky shot at the Hero World Challenge tournament.

6 hours ago

Tiger Woods - The Masters Tournament...

Doug Ferguson

Tiger Woods To Own, Play For Florida Team In TGL

Tiger Woods couldn't be more involved with prime-time TGL unless he had built the arena. He helped develop the tech-infused golf league.

23 days ago


Doug Ferguson, AP

Ryder Cup Stays At Home For Europeans, US Loses Its Seventh Straight In Europe

Europe won back the the Ryder Cup on Sunday, extending its seven-year dominance over the Americans on home soil.

2 months ago


Kyle Ireland

Instant Replay: Jazz Part-Owner Dwyane Wade Hits Hole-In-One At Pebble Beach

NBA legend and Utah Jazz part-owner Dwyane Wade hit a hole-in-one while golfing at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

2 months ago

How to watch Ryder Cup...

Chandler Holt

How To Watch, Stream, Listen To 2023 Ryder Cup

The 2023 Ryder Cup takes place in Italy this week. Here is how to watch, stream, and listen so you can stay caught up with all the action.

2 months ago


Kyle Ireland

Tony Finau Ties For 20th At TOUR Championship, Viktor Hovland Wins FedEx Cup

Utahn and PGA Tour golfer Tony Finau tied for 20th place on the leaderboard at the 2023 Tour Championship in late August.

3 months ago

Sponsored Articles


KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.


KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.

Football soccer ball on grass field on stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

Everything You Need to Know to Watch the 2022 World Cup

Find out where and when to watch the upcoming games and final match for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, including where to find live updates.


KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.

PGA Tour Countersuit Accuses LIV Golf Of Unfair Tactics