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PGA Tour Seeks to Add Saudi Wealth Fund to Lawsuit Over LIV Golf

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“To sum up, P.I.F. and Mr. al-Rumayyan recruited players; decided how much to pay them; assured them about their positions and about indemnification from suit by P.I.F.; and controlled the conduct of this litigation undertaken by P.I.F.’s lawyers,” the tour said on the conclusion of a piece crammed with redactions.

However the tour, the wealth fund has complained, has misconstrued and exaggerated the influence of the shareholder agreement. And in a court filing last yr, before the tour received a replica of the agreement, the wealth fund’s lawyers said it “doesn’t control LIV’s day-to-day-operations.” The filing included a sworn statement from al-Rumayyan, who said the wealth fund provided only “high level oversight” of LIV.

LIV and the tour should not expected to face one another at trial until at the very least next January, and the addition of recent parties to the litigation could fuel calls to increase that timeline.

The tour has hardly been alone in in search of a spread of evidence for the case. In a filing on Monday, LIV detailed why it wanted copies of communications between six people closely tied to the tour — five board members and a former commissioner — and certain members of Augusta National Golf Club, which organizes the Masters Tournament and has been swept into the Justice Department’s inquiry into antitrust concerns in men’s golf.

“A central component of the tour’s scheme to foreclose competition from LIV was to threaten golfers, other tours, vendors, broadcasters, sponsors and virtually every other third parties in the event that they did business with LIV,” the Saudi-funded circuit said. “Discovery has shown that the tour delivered these threats not only through its own executives and employees, but by dispatching other influential individuals on its behalf.”

LIV, just before a redacted portion of its submission, said that “the specter of a change in relationship with Augusta’s members was used as a follow discourage one among the highest golfers on the planet from joining LIV.”

In its statement within the filing, the tour said that LIV’s request “goes well beyond the problems on this case, imposes an undue burden on third parties, and exceeds the bounds of relevant and proportional discovery.”

In December, Augusta National said it will not change the standards that govern Masters invitations before its 2023 tournament, opening the door for greater than a dozen LIV players, including six past Masters winners, to compete this April.

Kevin Draper contributed reporting.

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