PGA LIV Antitrust Lawsuit

Professional golfers have now filed a lawsuit against the PGA, arguing its punishments are not up to par. I’m Amy E. Feldman.

Eleven golfers including Phil Mickelson, who signed up to play with the Saudi-backed LIV golf league and were, as a result, suspended for life from the PGA tour have now filed a lawsuit against the PGA, claiming it violated antitrust laws that prohibit a company from engaging in practices to eliminate their competition. But upon hearing about that suit, many employees who are required to sign non-competes themselves that prohibit them from working for the competition want to know why that wouldn’t be considered an antitrust violation. 

Well, for one thing, golfers aren’t employees, they’re independent contractors. For another, employee non-competes are generally for a year; this is a lifetime ban. And non-compete agreements are usually premised on the notion that the employee has received trade secret information. The golfers, on the other hand, may know how to golf but one would argue they came with that knowledge to the PGA, which may be forced to take a mulligan on the lifetime ban policy.

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