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PGA TOUR’s Response to LIV Golf: Is it Competition or an Antitrust Violation?


golf swing_mburtonAs I was driving home on Interstate 70 from Kansas on August 28, I was listening to the radio broadcast of the final day of the PGA Tour Championship. Just listening to the call of Rory McIlroy sinking his 32-foot putt on the 15th hole to tie for the lead again (with me yelling “yes” and fist-pumping in the car) and then the subsequent anxiety-filled final holes in his battle with Scottie Scheffler, not to mention Sungjae Im who was sitting in the clubhouse at -20, was exciting! I cannot imagine what it was like for those watching it live on television. For this reason, I find it simply perplexing as to why some people, some golfers, say that the PGA Tour is boring and from a by-gone era, and that LIV Golf is the “fix” we all apparently need. But that was the argument made by certain golfers who filed a lawsuit against the PGA Tour in the Northern District of California on August 3, 2022, alleging breach of contract and antitrust violations. Some of these golfers attempted to obtain a temporary restraining order that would have required the PGA TOUR to lift its decision that prohibited these players from competing in the FedExCup Playoffs (which culminated in the final PGA Tour championship event), even though these golfers made the choice to join LIV Golf knowing full well their commitment previously made to the PGA TOUR and its governing rules, which prohibit playing in competing events without obtaining a release.


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