The first event of the 2022 FedEx Cup Playoffs is the FedEx St. Jude Championship from TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee. The path to qualifying to this event is pretty simple: Be one of the Top 125 players on the PGA TOUR’s FedEx Cup Points List after the Wyndham Championship that ended August 7.
But for nine golfers that joined the LIV Tour during the 2021-22 season, they would have been in the field if they hadn’t made the jump to the breakaway circuit. The following players would have been eligible for the Playoffs, but were suspended by the PGA TOUR for their participation in LIV.
Talor Gooch, 1,302 points (20th)
Jason Kokrak, 801 points (45th)
Matt Jones, 653 points (65th)
Hudson Swafford, 640 points (67th)
Matthew Wolff, 572 points (78th)
Abraham Ancer, 510 points (88th)
Carlos Ortiz, 414 points (107th)
Brooks Koepka, 412 points (108th)
Charles Howell III, 400 points (116th)
So in response, an antitrust suit that has been filed and a temporary restraining order has been sought by Talor Gooch, Matt Jones, and Hudson Swafford so they can compete in the 2022 FedEx Cup Playoffs. A hearing on that motion will take place at 1 p.m. PT on Tuesday in a Federal Circuit Court in the Northern District of California, with Judge Beth Labson Freeman presiding.
“The punishment that would accrue to these players from not being able to play in the FedEx Cup Playoffs is substantial and irreparable,” said the LIV golfers in their TRO request, which you can read in full here.
“The Tour has unlawfully suspended the TRO plaintiffs from the Tour for almost two years and, as of yesterday, refused to stay these suspensions, as the Tour’s own rules require,” the plaintiffs continue. “Unless restrained, the Tour’s impermissible suspensions will prevent the TRO Plaintiffs from playing in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, which will deny them a crucial opportunity to qualify for next year’s premier professional golf events.”
The PGA Tour filed a blistering response, accusing the players of waiting as long as possible to file to assist in receiving relief, even using a hackneyed cake analogy to make their case for their exclusion.
“Despite knowing full well that they would breach TOUR Regulations and be suspended for doing so, Plaintiffs have joined competing golf league LIV Golf, which has paid them tens and hundreds of millions of dollars in guaranteed money supplied by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund to procure their breaches,” said the TOUR attorneys. “TRO Plaintiffs now run into Court seeking a mandatory injunction to force their way into the TOUR’s season-ending FedExCup Playoffs, an action that would harm all TOUR members that follow the rules. The antitrust laws do not allow Plaintiffs to have their cake and eat it too.”
They don’t hold back on the LIV Tour as a business either. “LIV is the most recent example of ‘sportswashing,’ a strategy by the Saudi government to use sports in an effort to improve its reputation for human rights abuses and other atrocities.”
Once a ruling on the motion is made either in court or shortly thereafter, we’ll post the decision here.