Attorneys representing the PGA Tour are seeking to add Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and the fund’s governor, Yasir Othman Al-Rumayan, as defendants in their lawsuit against the tour’s LIV Golf.
In a motion filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Northern California, attorneys for the PGA Tour argued that documents recently obtained from LIV Golf show that PIF and Al-Rumayan played an active role in getting golfers to break their contracts with the group. PGA Tour by joining the LIV Golf Circuit.
“As set forth in the current counterclaim, LIV willfully and knowingly caused these players to breach their contractual obligations to the tour by misrepresenting the tour agreement, inducing these breaches by offering highly lucrative contracts to the players that prevented them from honoring their tour agreement, and seeking extensive damages and hundreds of millions to compensate LIV players for these violations.” Giving Countable Dollars,” PGA Tour attorneys wrote in the motion. “Recently released documents confirm that PIF and Mr. Al-Rumayan played an active and central role in orchestrating these violations for their own benefit and are equally responsible for the damage to tourism.”
In August, several players banned by the PGA Tour for playing in the LIV Golf Tournament without airing conflicting event broadcasts filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour, alleging that it used its monopoly power to stifle the tournament and discourage broadcasters and other suppliers. Working with LIV Golf. LIV Golf and three of its players are the remaining plaintiffs in the case.
The PGA Tour filed a countersuit alleging LIV Golf interfered with its contracts with players.
Attorneys for the PGA Tour wrote in Tuesday’s filing that PIF-funded LIV Golf is the end result of a plan called Project Wedge, which is “designed to provide a roadmap for taking professional golf into a state entity.” Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030″ Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is reported to be worth $620 billion.
Lawyers for the PGA Tour said the LIV Golf Subscriptions and Shareholders Agreement, which they found in discovery in December, “demonstrated the lynchpin PIF and Mr. Al-Rumayan’s total control over LIV and confirmed that any LIV contract with a player would require the approval of the PIF.” “
“In addition to exercising absolute authority over LIV, PIF and Mr. Al-Rumayan personally recruited Tour players, played an active role in contract negotiations and expressly approved each player’s contract knowing that these agreements would interfere with the players’ Tour contracts,” PGA Tour attorneys wrote in the motion.
“In addition to approving player contracts that promise to indemnify such players for breaching their contractual obligations on the tour, Mr Al-Rumayan himself has gone so far as to give personal assurances to at least one player of his and PIF’s commitment to support such player in any legal claim on the tour.”
In previous filings, LIV Golf’s attorneys argued that the PGA Tour was overstating PIF’s control of the new circuit. In an affidavit, Al-Rumayian said the fund had only given “substantial control” of LIV.
According to court documents, PIF owns at least 93% of LIV Golf. Former LIV Golf COO and president Atul Khosla told ESPN in October that the circuit has spent more than $784 million on the 2022 Open season ahead of two-time Open winner Greg Norman. December.
Attorneys for the PGA Tour unsuccessfully sought documents from the PIF through discovery and have so far been unable to oust Al-Rumaian. In their filing to the court, the lawyers argued that PIF and Al-Rumayyan believe “that no court in the United States has jurisdiction over them, that they are immune from compulsory process, and that they do not have information or documents relevant to the case.”