Thursday September 28, 2023

PGA Tour Seeks to Push LIV Golf Antitrust Trial Date Back

  • The PGA Tour called the current January 2024 trial date 'untenable' in request for new hearing.
  • Lawyers for the PGA Tour claim PIF and its governor continue to resist subpoena efforts.
Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports
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The PGA Tour is seeking a delay in the civil antitrust lawsuit filed by LIV Golf. 

In a filing late Sunday night, PGA Tour lawyers wrote the “current trial date and discovery schedule are untenable” and requested a hearing to extend both. Jury selection is currently scheduled to begin on Jan. 8, 2024. 

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund — LIV Golf’s major financial backer — and PIF’s governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan “continue to resist compliance with the [PGA] Tour’s subpoenas for documents and testimony,” PGA Tour attorneys wrote in the filing. 

Less than two weeks ago, the PGA Tour sought to add PIF and Al-Rumayyan to its counterclaim against LIV Golf over allegations they tortiously interfered with the PGA Tour’s contracts with players. 

“It could take several months (or longer) before PIF and Mr. Al-Rumayyan even begin producing discovery or choose to face the consequences of their noncompliance,” the PGA Tour’s lawyers wrote. “For these reasons, the court should vacate the trial date and set a new schedule for discovery with sufficient runway to allow for these pending issues to be resolved.”

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Attorneys for LIV Golf wrote in the same filing that PGA Tour is seeking to “shield itself from trial as long as possible.” The lawyers added the PGA Tour’s “ anticompetitive methods are inflicting ongoing harm on LIV and the Player Plaintiffs, who need prompt relief.”

“The Tour’s misguided effort to delay the trial schedule based on its efforts to take discovery from non-parties PIF, a sovereign entity, and Mr. Al-Rumayyan, a minister level public official, should be rejected,” LIV Golf’s lawyers wrote the filing. “The Tour was aware of these issues when it agreed to the present case schedule less than a month ago. That third-party discovery was not a basis to continue the trial date less than a month ago, and it is not a basis to do so now.”

Beyond other discovery issues, the PGA Tour listed Phil Mickelson over allegations he “has failed to produce core responsive documents” that include his contract negotiation with LIV Golf, interactions with his agent, and “communications with the media regarding interviews in which he discussed his decision to leave” the PGA Tour. 

“To date, Mr. Mickelson has produced fewer than 600 documents, some of which are materials the TOUR sent to Mr. Mickelson, copies of the complaint and discovery requests, and junk files with no content,” the PGA Tour’s lawyers wrote. 

Mickelson was among the initial LIV Golf players who were the original plaintiffs in the lawsuit over allegations the PGA Tour of anticompetitive behavior to hold LIV Golf back. 

Mickelson and most other players dropped out, leaving LIV Golf as the lead plaintiff. Abraham Ancer, Jason Kokrak, Carlos Ortiz, and Pat Perez — who were also briefly plaintiffs in the case — have allegedly been slow to turn over information subpoenaed by the PGA Tour.

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