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PGA Tour Countersues LIV Golf: Everything You Need to Know

Last Updated: January 18, 2023
The latest LIV Golf news cranks up the temperature on its ongoing legal standoff with the PGA Tour even further — can both parties afford to take the heat forever?

The adversarial relationship between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf remains in the rough — and in the courtroom, things are getting even rougher.

On Thursday, the PGA Tour filed a countersuit against the Saudi Arabia-backed breakaway competition on Wednesday, claiming that the big-money contracts LIV used to poach superstars like Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson interfered with active, binding contracts it had with its own members. This week’s filing is part of the Tour’s response to LIV Golf’s ongoing federal antitrust lawsuit, which alleges that the PGA Tour’s decision to suspend members who participate in LIV events was an illegal practice that effectively preserved a monopoly and prevented market competition.

The countersuit alleges that LIV stole top golfers by offering “astronomical sums of money to induce them to breach their contracts with the Tour in an effort to use the LIV Players and the game of golf to sportwash the history of Saudi atrocities and to further the Saudi Public Investment Fund’s Vision 2030 initiatives.”

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The suit also includes a text LIV Golf CEO and Commissioner Greg Norman purportedly sent to LIV player and major champion Sergio Garcia:

“They cannot ban you for one day let alone life. It is a shallow threat,” Norman allegedly said verbatim. “Ask them to put in writing to you or any player. I bet they don’t. Happy for anyone to speak with our legal team to better understand they have no chance of enforcing.”

The PGA Tour also asked the US Department of Justice, which is currently investigating the alleged monopolistic actions LIV alleges, to throw out the original lawsuit suit against it altogether.

“Through this lawsuit, LIV asks the Court to invalidate these wholly legitimate provisions with the stroke of a pen after inducing the remaining Player Plaintiffs to violate those same regulations with hundreds of millions of dollars in Saudi money. The Player Plaintiffs that have remained in the case — eight of the original eleven players have withdrawn their names from this lawsuit already — want only to enrich themselves in complete disregard of the promises they made to the Tour and its members when they joined the Tour.”

While Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Talor Gooch, and Hudson Swafford removed their names from LIV’s federal suit this week, Bryson DeChambeau, Peter Uihlein, and Matt Jones remain as plaintiffs in the antitrust litigation.

“The Tour has made these counterclaims in a transparent effort to divert attention from their anti-competitive conduct, which LIV and the players detail in their 104-page complaint,” LIV Golf said Thursday. “We remain confident that the courts and the justice system will right these wrongs.”

Stay tuned for more LIV Golf news — but at least in the near future, don’t expect thing to get prettier.

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