‘We’re in a lawsuit!’ PGA Tour chief Jay Monahan rules out any chance of reconciliation with LIV Golf rebels with defectors to the Saudi-backed event barred from Presidents Cup
- LIV rebels filed an antitrust lawsuit last month after PGA Tour suspensions
- None of those players who defected can play at this week’s Presidents Cup
- PGA commissioner Jay Monahan says any chance of an alliance is ‘off the table’
- Attorneys for his Tour have accused LIV of being a Saudi ‘sportwashing’ exercise
Jay Monahan has ruled out the prospect of ‘peace in our time’ between his PGA Tour and the LIV rebels.
The two competitions are currently embroiled in an antitrust lawsuit filed in August by LIV players who had been suspended by the PGA Tour after they defected to the Saudi-backed rival.
Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Bryson DeChambeau and others sued the PGA Tour and were backed by LIV CEO Greg Norman, saying monopoly power had been used to suppress competition with rebel players banned unfairly.
When asked on the Golf Channel ahead of the Presidents Cup in North Carolina whether there was any prospect of a truce, Monahan immediately dismissed the suggestion.
‘Listen, I think I’ve been pretty clear on this: I don’t see this happening,’ he said.
‘When you look at where we are, and you think about words and actions, we’re currently in a lawsuit, so coming together and having conversations, to me, that card is off the table, and it has been for a long period of time.’
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has ruled out any prospect of a truce with LIV rebels
Several of the world’s leading golf stars have defected to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Tour
Monahan continued: ‘When you look at the PGA Tour, and you look at where we are today, and you look at what it is that we try and accomplish every single day – what’s our focus?
‘To put the best competitive platform forward for the best players in the world to achieve at the highest level, to win the championships that have history, that have tradition, that create legacy.
‘That is what we’re going to continue to do, and we’re going to continue to get better at it, we’re going to continue to get stronger at it.
‘You’ve heard me say before that we’re going to focus on things that we control; we have more assets at our disposal, stronger partnerships and we have the best players in the world telling us that not only are they going to commit to play more, but they’re really looking at the organisation to accomplish that.
‘It’s all about where we are and where we’re going, and again, I couldn’t be more excited about the possibilities here.’
LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman (left) with Cameron Smith after the last event in Illinois last week
Dustin Johnson, Talor Gooch, Patrick Reed and Pat Perez celebrate a LIV Golf success
The PGA Tour did not hold back in its response to the LIV lawsuit last month, with attorneys claiming it is an attempt to use golf for ‘sportwashing’ the Saudi Arabian government’s human rights record.
‘LIV is not a rational economic actor, competing fairly to start a golf tour,’ the Tour’s attorneys wrote.
‘It is prepared to lose billions of dollars to leverage Plaintiffs and the sport of golf to ‘sportswash’ the Saudi government’s deplorable reputation for human rights abuses.
‘If Plaintiffs are allowed to breach their TOUR contracts without consequence, the entire mutually beneficial structure of the TOUR, an arrangement that has grown the sport and promoted the interests of golfers going back to Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, would collapse.’
The United States players – minus LIV rebels – pose for a picture ahead of the Presidents Cup
The Saudi rebels’ bombshell lawsuit claimed their suspension from the Tour would cause their careers ‘irreparable harm’.
The lawsuit read: ‘As part of its carefully orchestrated plan to defeat competition, the Tour has threatened lifetime bans on players who play in even a single LIV Golf event.
‘It has backed up these threats by imposing unprecedented suspensions on players (including the Plaintiffs) that threaten irreparable harm to the players and their ability to pursue their profession.’
However, the Tour insisted the players face no threat and that the trio were aware of the consequences they would face when they accepted millions to join LIV golf.