FedEx Cup Play-offs: LIV trio fail in legal bid to play

LIV Golf boasts £200m in prize money up for grabs across its eight announced events this year
LIV Golf boasts £200m in prize money up for grabs across its eight announced events this year

THREE players from the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series have lost a court bid against the PGA Tour to play in the FedEx Cup Play-offs.

The PGA Tour has suspended members for taking part in the breakaway series.

Australian Matt Jones and Americans Talor Gooch and Hudson Swafford sought a temporary restraining order, clearing them to play at the first FedEx Cup play-off tournament this week.

However US District Judge Beth Labson Freeman sided with the PGA Tour.

The trio claimed the suspension was causing them “irreparable” harm.

But the judge, in her ruling, said the lucrative payments offered by LIV “are based upon players’ calculations of what they were leaving behind”.

LIV Golf said it was “disappointed” in the judgement adding: “No-one gains by banning golfers from playing.”

The three are among 11 players – including Phil Mickelson and Ian Poulter – contesting their suspensions with an anti-trust lawsuit against the PGA Tour.

However, only Jones, Gooch and Swafford had been seeking the restraining order to allow them to take part in the FedEx Cup Play-offs.

The $75m (£62m) three-tournament event starts in Memphis on Thursday.

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, who has criticised the series, said: “From my vantage point common sense prevailed and I thought it was the right decision.

“It lets us focus on the important stuff, which is the golf. We can all move forward and not have that sideshow going on for the next few weeks, which is nice.”

Earlier, world number one Scottie Scheffler had spoken of his frustration at seeing the players suing the PGA Tour.

“Those guys kind of made their decision to go join another tour and they broke the rules and regulations of our tour, and now they’re trying to sue us, which is definitely a bit frustrating,” Scheffler said.

“It’s kind of part of it now. Guys are going to leave. There’s another tour going on and now they’re suing us, so there’s a lot going on.”

Reports in Australia have claimed Open champion Cameron Smith and Australian compatriot Marc Leishman will be among those players joining LIV Golf in the near future.

Smith would not be drawn on the matter when asked on Tuesday.

Scheffler, though, has ruled out being among their number, despite the $25m (£20.72m) purse on offer at its events, saying it was never his “dream” to chase “financial benefits”.

“I’m not going to speak about the guys that are going to LIV and all that speculation. If that’s what they want to do, that’s what they want to do.

“The PGA Tour is where I want to play and it continues to be the place where the best golfers in the world play.”

Culled from BBC SPORT