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PGA Tour Files New Lawsuit Against Saudi Public Investment Fund In Latest Escalation Of Golf’s Turf War

Greg Norman and Yasir Al-Rumayyan
Chris Trotman/LIV Golf via Getty Images

The big antitrust lawsuit filed against the PGA Tour over the summer and now pressed primarily by the grotesque breakaway LIV Golf tour continues to make its way through the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California. The two parties last week quietly made progress on a recent point of contention having to do with LIV Golf demanding that the PGA Tour produce a record of all communications or discussions anyone associated with the PGA Tour had about any new golf tour, with anyone, at any point over a period of nearly four years. Seems onerous! The court and the parties agreed on Wednesday to a set of narrowing stipulations and some reasonable deadlines; also Wednesday, LIV Golf answered the PGA Tour’s counterclaim for tortious interference, arguing, as you’d expect, along the lines of “Nah.”

That the initial complaint is proceeding more-or-less normally does not mean that the golf war is cooling or becoming more sane. On the contrary: The PGA Tour filed a new federal lawsuit Thursday, on top of its counterclaim, this time naming as defendants the Public Investment Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and its governor, a man named Yasir Othman Al-Rumayyan. The case was filed under seal in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York, but it includes 50 exhibits and multiple motions to compel. According to Mark Schlabach of ESPN, the PGA Tour is attempting to compel Al-Rumayyan to be deposed in the other lawsuit, and is attempting to compel the Public Investment Fund “to release documents to PGA Tour attorneys through discovery.”

Sports fans may recognize the name of Yasir Al-Rumayyan. The chairman of Saudi Aramco, the largest and most valuable company in the world by market capitalization, Al-Rumayyan is also chairman of Newcastle United F.C. of the English Premier League. Al-Rumayyan’s involvement in the daily running of LIV Golf may be informal—CEO and primary spokesperson Greg Norman sits at the top of the LIV Golf organizational chart—but as the person who is in charge of the essentially infinite fund from which LIV Golf draws all of its resources, Al-Rumayyan is the person with ultimate control over the enterprise. It’s an active role for Al-Rumayyan: He’s been on-hand and front-and-center at events in London, Chicago, and in Bedminster, where he played in a pro-am group with the surreal event’s host, moldering shit-for-brains and former U.S. President Donald Trump.

Not much else will be known about this new complaint while it remains under seal, but it’s a solid indicator that this legal slapfight will continue getting bigger and dumber, quite possibly until our expanding Sun finally and mercifully swallows the planet.

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