The battle between LIV Golf, PGA Tour is over...but there is a fresh twist!

Attorneys for the PGA Tour and LIV Golf have officially filed motions to bring an end to their expensive legal battle that started in August 2022. 

Ben Smith's picture
Sat, 17 Jun 2023
The battle between LIV Golf, PGA Tour is over...but there is a fresh twist!

It's over. LIV Golf's legal battle with the PGA Tour has finally come to an end. 

On 16 June, attorneys for both sides filed motions to dismiss the antitrust lawsuit and the countersuit which alleged 'tortuous interference'. 

It brings to an end more than 10 months of legal wranglings as both sides fought for supremacy in men's professional golf. 

The move was hardly a surprise, given that on 6 June a surprise agreement was announced between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf's Saudi backers, the PIF. 

PGA Tour boss Jay Monahan has found himself facing uncomfortable questions about the 'framework agreement' with the Saudis, given he's spent the better part of 18 months criticising LIV Golf for effectively sportswashing. 

The deal is now under scrutiny by members of Congress. The US Department of Justice has also confirmed they are investigating the deal. 

Monahan has now taken a leave of absence from his day-to-day duties owing to a 'medical issue'. 

Both cases were dismissed 'with prejudice', which means that even if the agreement with the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and PIF were to fall apart then any of the disputed elements in the original cases cannot be used as grounds for future litigation. 

Attorneys have also filed a motion asking for the dismissal of an appeal involving whether the PIF and its governor, Yasir al-Rumayyan would have to provide testimony. 

Related: PGA Tour stars to be compensated by Saudis

Lawyers previously argued the powerful Saudi businessman had sovereign immunity and that the PIF were merely investors in the rival league. 

A judge took a dim view of that but LIV attorneys filed an appeal. 

A memo sent to PGA Tour membership was obtained by SI during the US Open which read:

"Pursuant to the Framework Agreement announced last week, documents have now been filed with the court bringing a formal end to all pending litigation between the PGA Tour, PIF and LIV Golf."

The original antitrust case was launched on 3 August 2022 by Phil Mickelson and 10 other golfers. 

They were:

  • Talor Gooch
  • Hudson Swafford
  • Matt Jones
  • Bryson DeChambeau
  • Abraham Ancer
  • Carlos Ortiz
  • Ian Poulter
  • Pat Perez
  • Jason Kokrak
  • Peter Uihlein

The PGA Tour were given an early legal win when three players failed in their bid to compete in the FedEx Cup Playoffs. 

LIV Golf subsequently joined the lawsuit as a plaintiff, prompting a number of players to drop out. The PGA Tour countersued, alleging LIV induced top players to breach their contracts. 

A jury trial was expected in the middle of 2024. 

The case is not over yet as The New York Times has filed a motion to intervene and unseal court documents relating to the LIV/PGA Tour case. 

There are hundreds of documents that have substantial redactions. A judge will rule on that later in the month. 

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