According to a 105-page lawsuit filed by Mickelson, DeChambeau and Co against the PGA Tour, Masters officials “told players NOT to join LIV Golf and warned that they would not be invited by Augusta in the future”
- Lawsuit said Augusta National pressured golfers to turn down Saudi-backed tour
- Masters could be the first major tournament to ban LIV golfers in April
- If you do, six of the last 12 tournament winners could be banned from Augusta
Leaders of arguably the most prestigious golf tournament are accused of persuading golfers to opt out of the fledgling LIV tour.
These allegations against officials at The Masters and Augusta National Golf Club are part of a larger antitrust lawsuit filed by 11 players at LIV golf against the PGA Tour.
“Augusta National, the promoter of The Masters, has taken multiple actions to signal that it is on par with the PGA Tour, raising doubts among top professional golfers as to whether they would be banned from future Masters tournaments” , is in the lawsuit.
“For starters, the ties between the PGA Tour and Augusta National are deep. Augusta National’s actions indicate that the PGA Tour has used these channels to pressure Augusta National into fulfilling its bids.
“For example, in February 2022, representatives of Augusta National threatened to invite players from The Masters if they joined LIV Golf.”
Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley told golfers to turn down LIV, according to lawsuit
The Masters could take the step to become the first major tournament to ban LIV golfers from playing
The suit adds that Augusta National officials were absent from the meeting but told players that the PGA Tour and leaders of The Masters agreed to work together to tackle LIV.
In addition, club and tournament president Fred Ridley is personally telling several players at this year’s Masters not to participate in LIV Golf events, and that Ridley turned down a meeting with LIV CEO Greg Norman.
Neither The Masters nor the Augusta National Golf Club have publicly commented on the allegations in the lawsuit.
Former US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau is part of PGA Tour lawsuit
Six-time major winner Phil Mickelson is one of 11 LIV Golf players to sue the PGA Tour
Golfers on the LIV tour are confident that a positive outcome will come their way, both in and out of a courtroom.
“Personally, I know it’s going to be sorted out whether it’s legal or they come to the table and work out the terms,” big winner Bryson DeChambeau told Fox News’s Tucker Carlson earlier this week.
“I’m sure it will wash itself out in the future, pretty soon.”
The Masters could take the step of banning LIV golfers from the upcoming tournament in April, making them the first of four golf majors to do so.
Both the US Open and British Open allowed LIV golfers to participate in their tournaments in June and July respectively.
If Augusta chose to take that step, it’s unclear whether that would lead to the banning of six of the last 12 champions.
That number currently stands at five, with Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Sergio Garcia, Charl Schwartzel and Phil Mickelson all set for the Saudi-backed tour.
It will rise to six when two-time green jacket winner Bubba Watson becomes an off-course captain for LIV’s next event which takes place about 30 miles outside of Boston at the end of the month.
Winners of The Masters earn a lifetime exemption to participate in the tournament.
When asked in April whether Mickelson’s absence from the 2022 Masters was due to his joining LIV, Ridley replied, “I’d like to say we haven’t discouraged Phil.
‘Phil has been a fixture here at the Masters for years. He has been a big part of our history. In any case, we wish him every success in solving the problems he now faces.’
Two-time Masters Champion Bubba Watson is coming to LIV Golf later this year