With last week’s temporary restraining order decided, the courts turned their attention to the much broader antitrust lawsuit that will pit the PGA Tour against a group of LIV Golf players who have been suspended by the circuit.
Attorneys for the suspended players argued Thursday in a Zoom hearing before Judge Beth Labson Freeman that the case needed to be “expedited” and supported a proposed trail date of Aug. 7, 2023, in the U.S. District Court Northern District of California.
“It’s important that we don’t find ourselves in a situation where the trial comes too little, too late,” argued Robert Waters, the lead attorney for the suspended players. “No reason in the world that working cooperatively we can’t meet this schedule.”
The Tour’s lead attorney, Elliot Peters, argued that the proposed schedule was “not reasonable or realistic” and pointed out that the lawsuit will be an “adversarial, hard-fought case.” Peters also noted that Aug. 7, 2023, is the Monday of the FedEx St. Jude Championship, the first FedExCup playoff event. “The commissioner and the other significant people from the Tour who will likely be subpoenaed, that’s a tough date for them,” Peters said.
Freeman countered with a “modest adjustment,” setting a July 23, 2023, summary judgment hearing and a trial date of Jan. 8, 2024.
The Tour’s attorneys also appeared to suggest that the number of players suing the Tour is dwindling. Carlos Ortiz dropped out of the lawsuit last week leaving 10 plaintiffs, including Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Ian Poulter. But during the hearing Peters referenced “dropping plaintiffs” and the need for added time because discovery will include “nine individual players.”