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Law

PGA Seeks Saudi Wealth Fund Discovery As Part of LIV Golf Case

  • PGA Tour to argue PIF's governor, fund documents should be added to discovery at Friday court hearing.
  • Attorneys for PGA Tour, LIV Golf have alleged the other side hasn't been forthcoming so far in discovery.
Richard Cashin-USA TODAY Sports

A crucial hearing in LIV Golf’s civil antitrust case against the PGA Tour is set for Friday.

Among the major issues expected to be addressed inside a federal courtroom in San Jose is whether the PGA Tour should be allowed to depose Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund of the Kingdom — the financial backer of LIV Golf, and a potential bidder for WWE. 

“Based on documents that we have gotten from LIV, we believe that this individual, Mr. Al-Rumayyan, is a very senior person in the Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fund, [and] basically functions as … chairman of LIV,” Elliot Peters, of the PGA Tour’s attorneys, said in court last month. 

According to court records, the hearing lasted about three hours, and another hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

The PGA Tour’s attorneys said information on Al-Rumayyan’s alleged closer links to LIV Golf came a month past a discovery deadline. 

“PIF and Mr. Al-Rumayyan should not be permitted to conduct business in the United States — including providing the final authority in the initiation and ongoing conduct of this litigation — only to hide behind a shell corporation to evade the jurisdiction of this Court,” the PGA Tour’s lawyers wrote. 

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Lawyers for LIV Golf have pushed back on efforts to subpoena Al-Rumayyan in the case along with PIF-related documents housed in Saudi Arabia. 

In a Monday filing, the LIV Golf attorneys wrote that allowing discovery to move for PIF officials like Al-Rumayyan “could force them to violate multiple Saudi laws regarding disclosure of confidential information.”

And when it comes to not being timely or thorough enough in discovery, LIV Golf’s lawyers alleged the PGA Tour of doing the same. 

LIV Golf accused the PGA Tour of providing incomplete organization charts. LIV’s lawyers wrote that delay in a Thursday filing led to a late request to add more PGA Tour employees to its discovery effort. 

“That discovery has shown three additional Tour employees (Christian Hardy, Allison Keller, and Tyler Dennis) were centrally involved both in the Tour’s misconduct and, in some instances, in directing others not to put their conduct in writing, “ LIV Golf’s attorneys wrote. 

LIV Golf attorneys attempted to postpone both Friday’s hearings, although Magistrate Judge Susan van Keulen denied that request. Van Keulen will oversee and rule on the discovery issues before the case shifts back to Judge Beth Labson Freeman’s courtroom. 

Freeman, who has presided over the lawsuit since it was filed last summer, agreed to push the discovery deadline for written discovery and document production back several weeks to March 30, even if it threatened the January 2024 trial date.

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