Saudi-backed LIV Golf series offered players ‘astronomical sums of money’ to break their contracts so they could help ‘clean up recent history of Saudi atrocities’, PGA Tour lawsuit claims .
The PGA Tour has launched a counterclaim against a LIV Golf lawsuit.
LIV’s lawsuit was filed after the PGA suspended and fined players who left the Tour to join the breakaway series.
LIV claims the PGA violated competition laws.
However, in its counterclaim, the PGA states: “A key element of LIV’s strategy has been to intentionally induce Tour members to violate their Tour agreements and perform in LIV events while seeking to maintain their membership. to the Tour and to play in marquee events on the Tour, so LIV can get out of the Tour and its platform for free.”
He goes on to accuse LIV of cynicism and alleges that the LIV series is “an effort to use LIV players and the game of golf” to improve Saudi Arabia’s public image following criticism from its human rights record.
Six-time major winner Phil Mickelson, former world number one Dustin Johnson and Open champion Cameron Smith are among the players to join LIV, which is offering a $25 million purse at its events.
Mickelson reportedly received a $200 million fee for joining LIV, Johnson reportedly received $150 million, and upon joining the show, Smith said money was “a factor” in his decision.
“The Tour made these counterclaims in a transparent effort to distract from their anti-competitive behavior,” LIV Golf said in response to the PGA Tour’s countersuit.
“We remain confident that the courts and the justice system will right these wrongs,” he added.
Earlier this week, Mickelson and Ian Poulter were among four players who asked to be removed from the LIV trial.
They said that with LIV joining the claim and effectively representing them, they no longer needed to pursue the case as individuals.