LIV Golf is again denying that players' prize money won in events is applied against their respective up-front money.
The topic came up again Tuesday during a hearing in which three LIV Golf players were attempting to gain a special temporary injunction to play in this week’s first FedEx Cup playoff event in Memphis.
During the hearing, the LIV players' attorney, Robert Walters, said in what appeared to be an off-handed remark about player compensation to judge Beth Labson Freeman. Here's how the exchange played out:
Judge Freeman: "Well, these contracts provide for payments simply for showing up for the first tournament."
Robert Walters: "Well, they do, but then they have to win money in order to recoup against the contract, so they are a little bit different."
The point was not followed up on during the proceedings, but it’s been an issue ever since the LIV Golf Invitational Series launched in June outside of London: Are the players only getting prize money once the amount exceeds their guaranteed pay?
Their emphatic answer: no.
“I haven’t yet received the transcript from the proceedings yesterday, but it seems there is a misunderstanding regarding prize purses,’’ said Atul Khosla, president and chief operating officer of LIV Golf, in a memo. “This issue is simple, and we’ve addressed it before. Prize money is of course separate from the contractual monies that players earn. As you already know, prize money is not subtracted from a player’s contractual earnings.
“That’s all there is to it.’’
A LIV Golf official made an announcement at the event in Portland to the same effect and said again Tuesday: “We maintain that every player’s contract is separate from the prize money.’’
Sports Illustrated contacted two LIV players and a player agent independent of each other and each said they have been paid the purse money earned in their events.
Freeman, in federal court in Northern California, ruled against players Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones in their attempt to gain relief to play this week. She set a trial date for the antitrust suit for next September.