The PGA Tour wins the first round of the legal battle with LIV Golf. The first hearing on the lawsuit filed by 11 LIV Golf players against the PGA Tour was held on Tuesday.
Beth Labson Freeman, verdict
Beth Labson Freeman, United States District Court Judge for the District of Northern California, ruled on the restraining order request related to the lawsuit.
This request was of an urgent nature, as three of the recurring players had been excluded from the FedEx PlayOffs which kick off today with the FedEx St. Jude Championship on the TPC Southwind route. Well, the Judge rejected this request, motivating his decision on the basis of the contents of the contracts signed by the players with LIV Golf.
"It seems to the Court that the LIV contracts, negotiated by the players and applied by the parties, were based on the calculation, by the players themselves, of what they would have lost and on the monetization of the amount necessary to compensate for such losses"
Freeman also noted that LIV Golf has granted suspended players the opportunity to play golf at a high level in the United States with guaranteed compensation ".. earning more than they reasonably expected to earn. ) in a reasonable amount of time on the PGA Tour ”.
"They made a business choice to get money," commented Elliott Peters, a lawyer representing the PGA Tour at the hearing. The LIV Golf, for its part, in an official note, expressed "disappointment" at the decision of the Court, specifying that "no one gains from preventing players from participating in tournaments"
After the first round, attention now shifts to the actual appeal, focused on the alleged violations of antitrust legislation by the PGA Tour. Judge Freeman communicated to the lawyers of the parties that the first availability in his agenda to deal with the appeal is in September 2023, and that if that date is not accepted, it would go directly to 2025. None of the contenders can afford such a long time. The hands are running, there are important events on the horizon.