LIV Golf joins lawsuit against PGA Tour, more players drop out

Pretty soon, there might not actually be anyone left in the antitrust lawsuit filed against the PGA Tour by a group of players who bolted for the controversial Saudi-backed LIV Golf.

Two more players—Abraham Ancer, ranked No. 24 in the world, and three-time PGA Tour winner Jason Kokrak—dropped out of the complaint on Friday, the amended filing showed. With their removal, that means more than a third of the original plaintiffs in the suit have bailed, with Carlos Ortiz and Pat Perez, who said he “didn’t think it through,” having also recently quit the complaint.

That leaves just Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Ian Poulter, Hudson Swafford, Talor Gooch, Matt Jones and Peter Uihlein as the only players remaining.

LIV Golf CEO and commissioner Greg Norman
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

However, the lawsuit also has a new member of the group: LIV Golf itself.

The rival circuit that launched in June has joined on as an interested party, arguing that without a favorable ruling, its ability to “maintain a meaningful competitive presence in the markets will be destroyed.” LIV also said that the Tour forced it to raise its costs in order to be able to sign players and that it kept it from recruiting others over the threat of facing punishment. It also claims the Tour forced LIV to delay its launch and have a smaller schedule than originally planned this year.

The players in the suit, meanwhile, are fighting their suspension from the Tour for defecting to LIV.

US District Judge Beth Labson Freeman has already ruled in the Tour’s favor on one matter, denying the temporary restraining order sought by Swafford, Gooch and Jones to participate in the Tour’s FedEx Cup Playoffs. A summary judgment hearing for July 23, 2023, in which the Tour will seek to have the suit dismissed, has been set, with an attempted trial date of Jan. 8, 2024.

Meanwhile, the Tour concludes its playoffs on Sunday with the final round of the Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta. A handful more players are expected to jump to LIV after that.


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