A federal judge on Tuesday denied a request by three golfers on the LIV Golf tour for a temporary restraining order that would have allowed them to compete in the PGA Tour’s lucrative FedExCup playoffs, which begin on Thursday.
Talor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford have all been suspended by the PGA Tour for joining the Saudi-backed breakaway league and hoped an emergency injunction would clear the way for them to play in the three-tournament playoffs.
But U.S. District Court Judge Beth Labso Freeman said the players knew the potential consequences of joining the rival circuit. She said they had been well compensated by LIV and that their lawyers failed to establish irreparable harm.
“With today’s news, our players’ fans and partners can now focus on what really matters over the next three weeks: the best players in the world competing in the FedExCup Playoffs,” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said in a letter to players.
LIV Golf said they were “disappointed” the trio were denied entry into the playoffs and “won’t be allowed to play golf.”
“No one gains by banning golfers from playing.”
Earlier on Tuesday, world number one Scottie Scheffler said he was “frustrated” by the players lawsuit.
The $255 million LIV series is being bankrolled by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which critics say is a vehicle for the country to improve its image in the face of criticism of its human rights record.
World number two Cameron Smith has signed a $100 million-plus deal to join the LIV series, Britain’s Telegraph reported on Tuesday.