LIV Golf v. PGA Tour and the Future of Professional Golf
The staid world of professional golf was upended in 2022 with the entry of LIV Golf, a circuit of invitational tournaments featuring both individual and team play. Financed by the vast resources of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (“PIF”), LIV Golf recruited some of the world’s top golfers, including Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, by paying each signing bonuses, appearance fees, and tournament purses amounting to tens of millions of dollars.1 The breakaway circuit positioned itself as an alternative to the PGA Tour, the top level of professional golf. Given that LIV Golf stages its competitions on the same weekends and often on the same continent as PGA Tour events, the Tour invoked its contractual rights and regulations to suspend golfers who took the money and played for LIV.2 Eleven of those golfers responded with an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour, filed in the Northern District of California.3 That lawsuit has expanded to include other parties and claims, and is now progressing through pretrial discovery.
This article describes the PGA Tour’s financial and regulatory model and the broader professional golf ecosystem, as understanding this context is essential to evaluating the pending antitrust lawsuit. It then examines the antitrust claims that seek to dismantle the Tour’s model, details the progress of that lawsuit and additional claims and parties that have since been added, and explains how LIV Golf’s entry has already transformed the golf ecosystem.
To continue reading or watching login or register here
Already a member? Sign in
Get access to all of the expert analysis and commentary at LawInSport including articles, webinars, conference videos and podcast transcripts. Find out more here.
- Tags: Anti-Trust | Competition Law | Dispute Resolution | Golf | LIV Golf | PGA Tour | Sherman Act | Sports | United States of America (USA)
- Potential new restrictions and requirements on foreign State investment into European football clubs
- How could US college football be restructured to improve its competitive & economic potential?
- Teeing Up For A Competition Lawsuit? The PGA Tour’s Refusal To Release LIV Golf Invitational Hopefuls
- A Summary Of The Advocate General Opinion In The European Super League Case
- A Summary of Key Sports Law Cases In Australia in 2022
- Sport And Competition Law – Annual Review 2022/23
Professor of Clinical Law/Director of Externship Programs, Brooklyn Law School at Brooklyn Law School.
Professor Jodi Balsam is a member of the faculty of Brooklyn Law School, New York City. She teaches Sports Law there, and at NYU School of Law. She is a co-author of the leading Weiler Roberts Sports Law casebook, and frequently appears in the media commenting on sports law developments. Prior to joining academia, she was Counsel for Operations & Litigation at the National Football League. She received her J.D. from NYU School of Law, and her B.A. in History from Yale College.