Ocst, a lot of independent contractors can’t just work for the competition at the same time they work for another company right? Why is this different?
Yeah, this can be a tough nut to crack. I think the players would have to be considered independent contractors, so that makes the tour... what, exactly? The tournaments are owned and sponsored by the golf clubs individually, I would think, so the tour is, I would assume, a corporation or partnership that provides marketing, rules standardization and enforcement, and other support to the clubs and players. So the players aren't employees, per se, and could concievably shop their services...
But, I don't see any issue with the tour contracting with individual players that they can't play on a competing tour. The anti competitive behavior would arise from the tour using improper or wrongful means to compete with LIV, which might well be things like:
alleges that the PGA Tour not only has threatened golfers who sought to play in LIV tournaments, it also “threatened sponsors, vendors, and agents to coerce players to abandon opportunities to play in LIV Golf events”; “orchestrated a per se unlawful group boycott with the European Tour to deny LIV Golf access to their members”; and “leaned on” groups that put on golf’s four major championships, pressuring them into banning LIV golfers from competing in the sport’s most high-profile events.
I would think that PGA, or LIV, or any similar thing, would be on firm ground in saying "if you sign with us, you can't play in that other tour's events." I think UFC and other competitions like that work similarly.
The antitrust behavior would come in with the PGA brass getting on the phone with the corporate sponsors, or networks, or a club like Augusta, or the European Tour, and saying "if you let any of those LIV guys play you're not getting our players/money/whatever."
But without reading the statutes, cases, etc. that's just me trying to put it in the fairway, as it were.