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LIV Golf vs. PGA Tour: Judge Upholds FedEx Cup Bans

In the latest LIV Golf news, Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford, and Matt Jones were denied a temporary restraining order that would have allowed them entry into the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup Playoffs.

The battle was already raging on as a war of words. Naturally, the court of public opinion was the next to get involved (and #GolfTwitter has never been more exciting as a result). And as of last week, the showdown between the PGA Tour and the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series ended up in actual court.

On Aug. 3, 11 LIV Golf players went federal, suing the PGA Tour in the Northern District of California. The petitioners, which include Phil Mickelson, alleged that banning LIV golfers from its events violated antitrust statutes. The 11 athletes sought a temporary restraining order (TRO) that would have permitted Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford, and Matt Jones to participate in the PGA Tour’s end-of-season FedEx Cup Playoffs.

On Wednesday, District Judge Beth Labson Freeman refused to grant the TRO, handing the PGA Tour a notable victory in the ongoing standoff that’s consumed the sport worldwide.

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The FedEx Cup Playoffs, which play out this month and feature three events and a $75 million prize money pool, begin Aug. 11 with the St. Jude Championship in Memphis, Tennessee.

As Judge Freeman wrote in her ruling on the case known officially as Mickelson v. PGA Tour, Inc.:

“It appears to the court that the LIV contracts, negotiated by the players and consummated between the parties, were based upon the players’ calculation of what they would be leaving behind and the amount the players would need to monetize to compensate for those losses. I do agree with the [PGA Tour] that those losses were well known to the players at the time and clearly monetized.”

The short version? The viability of the LIV Golf athletes’ legal argument depended on establishing that they were clear victims of “irreparable harm” committed by the PGA Tour. The judge determined that they had not done so.

With this week’s latest LIV Golf news, a key battle in these early stages of the breakaway competition’s slobberknocker with the PGA Tour ends.

But with so much money on the line and so many stakeholders’ emotions running hot as a result, it’s more than simply safe to say that the global golf wars are only beginning.

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