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The PGA Tour has filed a motion in federal court to keep three LIV golfers out of the upcoming FedEx Cup Playoffs.
Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones last week filed for an injunction to play in the lucrative end-of-season events, having done enough to finish amongst the 125 eligible players before jumping ship for LIV Golf earlier this summer.
If granted, the legal reprieve would allow the trio to peg it up in this week’s FedEx St Jude Invitational at TPC Southwind in Memphis.
A hearing to consider the players’ motion is expected to be heard in California on Tuesday – but the PGA Tour is determined to keep them out.
In a motion filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, lawyers for the tour dismissed the injunction request as “legally baseless”, adding: “Despite knowing full well that they would breach tour regulations and be suspended for doing so, Plaintiffs have joined [the] competing golf league LIV Golf, which has paid them tens and hundreds of millions of dollars in guaranteed money supplied by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund to procure their breaches.
“[The] Plaintiffs now run into court seeking a mandatory injunction to force their way into the tour’s season-ending FedExCup Playoffs, an action that would harm all TOUR members that follow the rules.
“The antitrust laws do not allow Plaintiffs to have their cake and eat it too.”
The PGA Tour motion went on to accuse Gooch, Swafford and Jones of “fabricating an emergency”
It went on: “Their ineligibility for tour events was foreseeable when they accepted millions from LIV to breach their agreements with the tour, and they knew for a fact that they were suspended on June 9. The harm they now allege from their suspensions is 100% economic and capable of redress with money damages.”
The motion also took another spectacular swipe at the new Greg Norman-fronted enterprise over its links to Saudi Arabia.
“LIV is not a rational economic actor, competing fairly to start a golf tour,” it added. “It is prepared to lose billions of dollars to leverage Plaintiffs and the sport of golf to ‘sportswash’ the Saudi government’s deplorable reputation for human rights abuses.
“If Plaintiffs are allowed to breach their tour contracts without consequence, the entire mutually beneficial structure of the TOUR, an arrangement that has grown the sport and promoted the interests of golfers going back to Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, would collapse.”
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