The PGA Tour has countersued LIV Golf, claiming the breakaway competition offered “astronomical sums of money” to “sportswash the recent history of Saudi atrocities”.
It’s the latest twist in the sport’s bitter civil war and a direct response from the PGA Tour to LIV Golf’s federal antitrust lawsuit filed in August claiming players were banned from PGA events for playing in LIV tournaments.
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The PGA’s filing rejected any violation of federal antitrust laws in a 71-page response to LIV as the legal battle escalates.
“LIV has executed a campaign to pay the LIV Players 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 sportswash the recent history of Saudi atrocities and to further the Saudi Public Investment Fund’s Vision 2030 initiatives,” the PGA Tour claimed.
“Indeed, a key component of LIV’s strategy has been to intentionally induce Tour members to breach their Tour agreements and play in LIV events while seeking to maintain their Tour memberships and play in marquee Tour events, like The Players Championship and the FedEx Cup Playoffs, so LIV can free ride off the Tour and its platform.
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“LIV has openly sought to damage the Tour’s business relationships with its members by inducing them to breach their contractual requirements, even going so far as to pay members’ legal fees to make breaching their contracts with Tour more enticing.”
However, LIV hit back at the PGA’s countersuit, believing “the justice system will right these wrongs” they perceive the PGA has committed.
“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’s statement read.
“We remain confident that the courts and the justice system will right these wrongs.”
There are only four plaintiffs left for LIV Golf’s lawsuit: Bryson DeChambeau, Matt Jones, Peter Uihlein and LIV Golf.
They are the last ones standing after Phil Mickelson and three other LIV players requested to be removed as plaintiffs from the lawsuit.