SAN JOSE, Calif. ( Associated Press) — A federal judge in California ruled Tuesday that three players who appeared in the LIV Golf Series, sponsored by Saudi Arabia, cannot compete in the PGA Tour postseason.
Judge Beth Labson Freeman delivered her ruling Tuesday afternoon in San Jose, after lawyers for both sides spoke for nearly an hour.
Freeman said he does not believe the golfers suffered irreparable harm, given the large amount of money they were guaranteed to attend LIV, which was a significant issue in the case.
“There is no irreparable damage in this case,” said PGA Tour attorney Elliot Peters.
The three suspended golfers were seeking a temporary injunction to allow them to play, something Freeman refused. Talor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford said they should have the ability to play wherever they want.
Each said in letters to the PGA last month: “I am a free agent and an independent contractor.”
The three golfers are among 10 who filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour last week, including Phil Mickelson.
Robert Walters, an antitrust plaintiff who represents the golfers, insisted that this is his opportunity at a great playoff stage, “which is effectively the Super Bowl of golf”, for its “significant income option”.
Freeman replied that the earning potential of the LIV Tour is also huge. He asked if players would be able to wait until the PGA season is over before going on a new tour.
“We are disappointed that Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones are not allowed to play golf. Nobody wins by stopping golfers from playing,” LIV Golf said in a statement.
The first of three FedEx Cup playoff tournaments begins on Thursday. The two tournaments offer $15 million in prize money, and the player who wins the FedEx Cup in East Lake, Atlanta, will receive $1.8 million.