Phil Mickelson among 11 LIV golfers to file ‘antitrust lawsuit against PGA Tour’

Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau are among 11 LIV Golf stars who have reportedly filed an antitrust lawsuit against the American circuit to challenge their suspensions.

Three of the 11 players – Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones – are reportedly seeking a temporary restraining order to allow them to play in the FedEx Cup play-offs, which start next week.

The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court of Northern California – and the other players taking action include Ian Poulter, Abraham Ancer, Carlos Ortiz, Pat Perez, Jason Kokrak and Peter Uihlein, with them arguing that the PGA Tour is trying to hurt their careers.

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"The Tour's conduct serves no purpose other than to cause harm to players and foreclose the entry of the first meaningful competitive threat the Tour has faced in decades," the lawsuit states.

"The purpose of this action is to strike down the PGA Tour's anticompetitive rules and practices that prevent these independent-contractor golfers from playing when and where they choose."

In response to the lawsuit, PGA Tour commissioner acknowledged it and responded, writing: "We have been preparing to protect our membership and contest this latest attempt to disrupt our TOUR, and you should be confident in the legal merits of our position.

The statement added: "Let me be clear: we will continue to defend the members who abide by the regulations written by and for the players."

It comes amid an explosive time in the sport, with more and more players defecting to the breakaway LIV Tour – fronted by Greg Norman – as the weeks go by.

Many players on the PGA Tour, including Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and 15-time major winner Tiger Woods, have been very outspoken against the emergence of LIV Golf.

And former US Ryder Cup captain Davis Love said PGA Tour stars could take the "nuclear option" and boycott events if LIV rebels successfully challenge their suspensions.

"If the LIV guys sue and are allowed to play on the PGA Tour, the players are enough fed up with it," Love said in a press conference before the Wyndham Championship.

"We understand that we make the rules on the PGA Tour and the commissioner is enforcing our rules and we don't want those guys playing, coming and cherry-picking our tournaments.

"We hold all the cards. We say to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) and to Washington, 'No, we support the rules. We don't want those guys playing. We don't care what the courts say'.

"The nuclear option is to say 'Fine, if they have to play in our events we just won't play'."

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