While the ruling on defectors playing in the FedEx Cup Playoffs was pretty straightforward, there were a number of standout moments in the tense discussions. George Cooper wraps them up

Just one week after golf’s civil war took its latest twist with 11 LIV players suing the PGA Tour over their indefinite suspensions, judgement day arrived for the three players filing an injunction to compete in this week’s FedEx Cup Playoffs.

In the tense, bitter, and often eyebrow-raising court battle, the judge ruled in favour of the PGA Tour, meaning that Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones will not be allowed to play in the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

A press release from LIV Golf immediately followed the decision. It simply read: “We’re disappointed that Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones won’t be allowed to play golf. No one gains by banning golfers from playing.”

Here’s six talking points from the first of many legal battles between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour…

LIV players’ earnings ARE counted against upfront money

Perhaps the biggest revelation to come out of Tuesday’s antics. So if you have been paid $50 million to sign with LIV Golf and you win the $4 million first prize at an event, you don’t earn an extra $4 million, it just gets deducted from your signing-on fee – effectively making it an advance. The LIV lawyer tried to brush past it as quickly as possible, but we all heard it. (Remember when Brandel Chamblee was annihilated for suggesting this a few weeks ago and the players all came out in force at the next LIV event to deny it? Good times.)

The 2023 LIV line-up is now full

Another slip from LIV’s lawyer. Greg Norman has been spouting this one for weeks now, while simultaneously thriving on the fact players are “begging” him for a spot in LIV. Well, with the likes of Cam Smith and Hideki Matsuyama set to join the breakaway league, it may appear he’s actually secured his field ahead of next year – where there will be a new format, remember.

Players are obliged to wear LIV clothing

Wait, so there is a legit reason Patrick Reed loves flaunting LIV’s logo? As stated by the judge, LIV’s golfers have an obligation to wear its branded material when playing in tournaments. This is according to unreleased contracts which are yet to be released to the public. It will be interesting to see how this goes down with equipment manufacturers…

The ‘indefinite suspensions’ have an expiry date

We were all wondering just how indefinite the ‘indefinite suspensions’ are – and we quickly got an answer. Per LIV’s attorney, the rebels are currently suspended from the PGA Tour until March 31, 2023. It was also revealed LIV’s defectors had appealed the bans twice already – on July 13 and July 30 of this year – both of which were denied.

The only exception here is Phil Mickelson, who was given an additional year for not only participating in the breakaway league, but attempting to poach players into the circuit.

LIV trio earned more in two months than entire PGA Tour career

This was quite the statement from the PGA Tour attorney, so we decided to do some probing, and well, he’s probably not wrong. Talor Gooch has earned $3.7 million on the Tour, Matt Jones $1.9 million, and Hudson Swafford $1.7 million. Gooch has then made $3.5 million from LIV prize earnings alone, which is before we even get into the undisclosed, but inevitably mouth-watering contract fees.

LIV have signed half the top 10 players from the 2021 PIP rankings

“That’s remarkable,” replied Judge Freeman, as the departure of Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson were all used to prove how LIV is doing just fine in the marketplace. A point which needed making, but must have been a tough pill to swallow for the PGA Tour…

NCG Top 100s Call to Action

Subscribe to NCG

2023 NCG Top 100s Tour Spring events now on sale!


Subscribe to NCG