FedEx Cup Playoffs: LIV trio denied in bid to play | Cameron Smith coy on links | Golf News

0 0
Read Time:13 Minute, 47 Second

Three golfers who joined the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series will not be able to play in the PGA Tour’s season-ending FedEx Cup Playoffs after losing their case for a temporary restraining order.

US District Judge Beth Labson Freeman heard the case and ruled in favour of the PGA Tour, which had filed a motion in Federal Court to bar three suspended members of the LIV Golf Invitational Series from participating in the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

Freeman said she did not consider Talor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford faced irreparable harm because of the big money they were guaranteed by joining LIV, a key issue in the case.

“There simply is no irreparable harm in this case,” PGA Tour attorney Elliot Peters said.

A judge ruled three LIV Golf players would not be allowed to compete in the PGA's FedExCup Playoffs

A judge ruled three LIV Golf players would not be allowed to compete in the PGA’s FedExCup Playoffs

The three suspended golfers claimed they should be able to play where they want to, each saying in letters last month to the PGA Tour, “I am a free agent and independent contractor.

They are among 10 players who filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour last week, including Phil Mickelson.

Robert Walters, an antitrust litigator representing the golfers, noted this would be their opportunity on a big playoff stage, effectively the Super Bowl of golf because of its significant income opportunities.

World No 1 Scottie Scheffler says he is ‘frustrated' by some of his fellow professionals opening legal proceedings against the PGA Tour

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

World No 1 Scottie Scheffler says he is ‘frustrated’ by some of his fellow professionals opening legal proceedings against the PGA Tour

World No 1 Scottie Scheffler says he is ‘frustrated’ by some of his fellow professionals opening legal proceedings against the PGA Tour

Freeman responded the LIV Golf earnings potential was also great and asked whether players might have been able to wait until the conclusion of the PGA Tour season to depart for the new tour.

Walters argued there were only 48 spots and they would have filled up according to LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman, to which Freeman said she agreed with that stance but that the golfers stood to gain far more financially joining LIV than the money they might have earned on the PGA Tour.

“This is an extraordinarily attractive financial opportunity but it’s much more than that,” Walters said, adding the harm done is that players lose intangible benefits such as qualifications for the major tournaments as well as other marquee invitationals.

“This is the holy grail because everybody wants to compete in and prevail in major championships, but it’s not just the majors,” Walters said. He noted the PGA Tour inferred these golfers would put a taint or stench on the tour’s image by playing, perhaps even wearing LIV Tour gear in PGA Tour tournaments.

Talor Gooch was one of the three LIV players bidding to take their place in the FedExCup Playoffs

Talor Gooch was one of the three LIV players bidding to take their place in the FedExCup Playoffs

“We’re disappointed that Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones won’t be allowed to play golf,” LIV said in a statement. “No one gains by banning golfers from playing.”

The first of three FedExCup playoff events begin Thursday. Two tournaments offer $15m prize funds, and the player who wins the FedExCup at East Lake in Atlanta gets $18m – thus the urgency for Freeman to rule.

This case could go to trial next year, with the possibility of an injunction hearing in late September or early October, according to Peters.

Peters said lifting the suspensions of the golfers and allowing them to play would change the status quo for the PGA Tour and give them a fabulous platform to promote the LIV tour while competing in a PGA event.

Elliot Peters, the attorney representing the PGA Tour, said this was "a very dire situation for the Tour"

Elliot Peters, the attorney representing the PGA Tour, said this was “a very dire situation for the Tour”

“I think it’s a huge problem,” Peters said. “The Commissioner needs the ability to protect the Tour. This is a very dire situation for the Tour.”

Gooch (No 20), Jones (No 65) and Swafford (No 67) are among nine players who have joined LIV Golf and finished the regular season among the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings. The other six who joined LIV Golf are not asking to play in the tour’s postseason.

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan issued a memo to members that included: “With today’s news, our players, fans and partners can now focus on what really matters over the next three weeks: the best players in the world competing in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, capping off an incredibly compelling season with the crowning of the FedEx Cup champion at the Tour Championship.”

Smith coy on LIV reports: ‘You’ll hear news from me’

Cameron Smith says any news about his future on the PGA Tour or joining the LIV Golf Series will only come from him and he insisted he’s fully focused on the FedExCup Playoffs.

The Open Championship winner Cameron Smith refused to comment on questions that he is reportedly joining LIV Golf

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

The Open Championship winner Cameron Smith refused to comment on questions that he is reportedly joining LIV Golf

The Open Championship winner Cameron Smith refused to comment on questions that he is reportedly joining LIV Golf

Smith was speaking ahead of the start of the FedExCup Playoffs and was asked directly about reports from The Telegraph stating that world No 2 had agreed to a deal in excess of $100m to sign with the LIV Golf Series

The reports came hours after Cameron Percy of Australia said in an interview Smith and another fellow Australian, Marc Leishman, already have signed deals to exit the PGA Tour.

“If there’s something I need to say regarding the PGA Tour or LIV, it will come from Cameron Smith and not Cameron Percy,” Smith said. “I’m a man of my word and whenever you guys need to know anything, it will be said by me.”

Smith’s plan is reportedly to finish out the PGA Tour season – where he has a real chance to win the FedExCup and the $18m prize that comes with it – before he joins LIV for its next tournament in Boston in early September.

Smith says he's solely focused on winning the FedExCup Playoffs

Smith says he’s solely focused on winning the FedExCup Playoffs

When asked if he would give a direct ‘yes or no’ regarding the report that he has signed and is going, Smith remained closed.

“I have no comment to that,” Smith said. “Like I said, I’m here to play the FedExCup Playoffs, that’s been my focus for the last week and a half.

“That’s what I’m here to do, I’m here to win the FedExCup Playoffs. Like I said, it will come from me it won’t come from Cameron Percy.”

LIV Tour declined to comment when contacted by Sky Sports News.

Smith continued on by confirming it is his intention to play the Presidents Cup, saying: “It’s something that we’ve been looking forward to for the last three years. We missed a year because of Covid and it’s something that I look forward to being a part of.”

Get the best prices and book a round at one of 1,700 courses across the UK & Ireland

Happy
Happy
0 %
Sad
Sad
0 %
Excited
Excited
0 %
Sleepy
Sleepy
0 %
Angry
Angry
0 %
Surprise
Surprise
0 %
Previous post Olivia Newton-John’s death called ‘Australia’s Princess Diana moment’
Next post How global COVID-19 pandemic restrictions shed light on the relationship between transport and air pollution