PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan fired back at the antitrust lawsuit filed by eleven of its former members, calling it an attempt to “freeride” on the “benefits and efforts” of it the Tour’s current members.
In an open letter addressing the Tour, Monahan vowed to “vigorously” fight against the lawsuit filed by Phil Mickelson and 10 other LIV golfers who claim the PGA Tour’s indefinite suspensions were aimed at hurting their careers.
The lawsuit was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
“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,” Monahan said in the letter. “Fundamentally, these suspended players – who are now Saudi Golf League – have walked away from the Tour and now want back in. With the Saudi Golf League on Hiatus, they’re trying to use lawyers to force their way into competition alongside our members in good standing.”
In addition to the complaint, three other golfers — Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones — have all filed for a temporary restraining order to compete in next week’s FedEx Cup playoffs, arguing that they qualified before joining LIV Golf.
“It’s an attempt to use the Tour platform to promote themselves and to freeride on your benefits and efforts. To allow reentry into our events comprises the Tour and the competition, to the detriment of our organization, our players, our partners, and our fans,” Monahan continued. “The lawsuit they have filed somehow expects us to believe the opposite, which is why we intend to make our case clear and vigorously.”
“Let me be clear: we will continue to defend the members who abide by the regulations written by and for the players.”
Monahan finished the letter by encouraging other Tour members to “speak out publicly.”
“This is your Tour, built on the foundation that we work together for the good and growth of the organization… and then you reap the rewards. It seems your former colleagues have forgotten one important aspect of that equation.”