Did the Masters officials try to discourage the pros from joining LIV Golf? A lawsuit claims they did just that

What role have Augusta National and Chairman Fred Ridley played in the current uproar between the PGA Tour and the LIV Golf Invitational Series? More than you might think if a file A 105-page complaint filed by Phil Mickelson, Bryson Deschamps, and nine other players A request for a temporary restraining order so that LIV defectors can compete in the upcoming FedEx Cup qualifiers is expected.

“Augusta National, the promoter of The Masters, has taken multiple actions to indicate their compatibility with the PGA Tour, thereby sowing doubt among top professional golfers as to whether they will be barred from future Masters tournaments,” according to an antitrust lawsuit filed by 11 LIV golfers Wednesday against the tour. . “As a preliminary matter, the links between the PGA Tour and the Augusta National run deep. Actions by Augusta National indicate that the PGA Tour has used these channels to pressure Augusta National into its bidding. For example, in February 2022, representatives of Augusta National threatened to deny Players from the Masters Tournament if they join Leaf Golf.”

He notes, among other things, that the Tour asked Augusta Nationals officials to attend an “emergency meeting” of the player advisory board meeting in May, prior to the first LIV Golf tournament once the course was announced, “to discuss the implications for players participating in LIV Golf.” Officials not attending the meeting, they told the players present at the meeting that Tour and Augusta National had agreed to work together in addressing LIV Golf, according to prosecutors.

“The threat of disqualification from Masters is a powerful weapon in the Tour’s arsenal to deter players from joining LIV Golf,” the lawsuit claims.

The lawsuit also alleges that Augusta National President Fred Ridley was working behind the scenes against LIV Golf.

In addition, Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley has personally instructed a number of participants in the 2022 Masters not to play in the LIV Golf Invitational Series. Obviously, these threats to the senior players have served no useful purpose, as they will only weaken the field in the Masters,” the claim states.

The lawsuit also says that Ridley denied a request for a meeting from LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman.

It is also alleged that Ridley contacted Asian Tour CEO Cho Min Thant along with R&A CEO Martin Slippers “to threaten the consequences for the Asian Tour’s position in the current ‘ecosystem’ if the Asian Tour continues to support LIV Golf and the LIV Golf Invitational Series.” .”

In his only public comments regarding the LIV Golf Ridley he said at the Masters in April, “Our job is to always act in the best interest of the game in whatever form it may take. I think golf is in a good place now. There is more involvement, and the portfolios on professional tours are higher on the The launch. We’ve been very clear in our belief that the World Tours have done a great job promoting the game over the years. On top of that, there’s so much we don’t know about what might or might happen, I can’t say much more than that.”

There are six former Masters champions joining LIV Golf – three-time champion Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Charles Schwarzl and two-time green jacket winner Bubba Watson. He announced his intentions last week that he will be joining LIV Once he was healthy and began participating as a non-playing leader with the start of the next Labor Day week event near Boston.

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The story originally appeared on GolfWeek