LIV Golf lawyer suggests player winnings count against contracts

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – One of the more compelling elements from Tuesday’s hearing in the US District Court Northern District of California was how attorneys for both the PGA Tour and the three players who have been suspended for playing the LIV Golf events were forced to vaguely talk about the contracts players signed with the start-up league.

The contracts were provided to the PGA Tour’s attorneys but were sealed for confidentiality reasons which meant any reference to them during Tuesday’s hearing for a temporary restraining order had to avoid specific details, like the amount of each contract and any stipulations included in the deals.

One exchange between Judge Beth Labson Freeman and Robert Waters, the lead attorney for the three players, appeared to suggest that earnings from LIV Golf events were counted against a player’s contract guarantees.

“The guaranteed number [a LIV player can earn in an event] is $160,000, which is admittedly a lot of money,” Waters explained.

Freeman, who denied the temporary restraining order, than countered: “These contracts [with LIV Golf] provide for payments simply for showing up for the first tournament.”

BY Rex Hoggard

“If LIV Golf is elite golf’s future, what do [the players] care about the dust-collecting trophies of a bygone era?” Judge Freeman wrote.

“Well, they do,” Waters responded, “but then they have to win money in order to recoup against the contract. So, they are all a little bit different.”

Earlier this summer, LIV Golf officials said earnings are not counted against or recouped against any guaranteed money and the league also released a statement from its chief operating officer, Atul Khosla.

“This issue is simple, and we’ve addressed it before. Prize money is of course separate from the contractual monies that players earn,” Khosla said. “As you already know, prize money is not subtracted from a player’s contractual earnings.”