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PGA Tour Ramps Up Pursuit of PIF Evidence

  • The PGA Tour seeks to add PIF and its governor, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, as defendants in counterclaim.
  • The filing is the latest turn in the antitrust case filed by LIV Golf in August.
Al-Rumayyan LIV
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The PGA Tour escalated its effort to obtain a deposition from the head of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and other PIF evidence with a motion filed in federal court on Tuesday night. 

Attorneys for the PGA Tour requested leave to amend the counterclaim to include PIF and PIF’s governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan as defendants. The motion comes as part of the antitrust lawsuit filed last summer by LIV Golf, which counts PIF as its major financial backer.

“In addition to exercising near absolute authority over LIV, PIF and Mr. Al-Rumayyan have personally recruited [PGA] Tour players, played an active role in contract negotiations, and expressly approved each of the player contracts—all while knowing that these deals would interfere with the players’ Tour contracts,” PGA Tour’s lawyers wrote in the filing.

That amounts to tortious interference and came to light via “recently produced documents demonstrating that they exercise control over LIV Golf,” the PGA Tour alleged in the motion.

“PIF and Mr. Al-Rumayyan played an active and central role in orchestrating these breaches for their own benefit and are equally liable for the harm caused to the [PGA] Tour,” the filing stated.

The PGA Tour had previously sought to subpoena both PIF and Al-Rumayyan, efforts argued in front of another judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The magistrate judge that heard arguments earlier this month has not ruled on that matter. 

If Judge Beth Labson Freeman allows the PGA Tour to add PIF and Al-Rumayyan as defendants in a counterclaim, that potentially gets around the restrictions on the subpoenas set forth in the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). 

“PIF and Mr. Al-Rumayyan argued that since they were merely subpoena recipients, and not parties to the lawsuit, the FSIA immunized them and none of the exceptions to the FSIA applied,” the PGA Tour’s lawyers wrote. 

The case is scheduled to go to trial next January.

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