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PGA Tour accuses LIV Golf’s Saudi patrons of claiming legal immunity to dodge courtroom battle

Phil Mickelson watches the flight of his tee shot on the first hole during the second round of the LIV Golf Invitational-Chicago tournament Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in Sugar Grove, Ill. (Joe Lewnard/Daily Herald via AP)

The PGA Tour accused LIV Golf’s Saudi patrons of attempting to avoid a court battle with the preeminent professional golf organization by claiming legal immunity, according to a recent court filing made public on Friday.

The Public Investment Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (PIF), which owns LIV Golf, and the head of PIF, Yasir Othman Al-Rumayyan, initially agreed to receive subpoenas from the PGA Tour, the tour claimed in the court filing.

However, the tour alleges that PIF and Al-Rumayyan have since “done a complete about-face,” refusing to produce documents or appear for a deposition. 

The LIV Golf owners reportedly claimed that “there is no court in the United States with jurisdiction over them” and that they are immune from the process of discovery. They also argued that they are irrelevant to the lawsuit. 

The PGA Tour asked the court in its October filing to force PIF and Al-Rumayyan to comply with its subpoenas.

The PGA Tour and LIV Golf are currently facing off in a federal antitrust lawsuit, which was initially filed by Phil Mickelson and several other golfers who were suspended by PGA for joining the upstart league. 

They accused the PGA Tour, which does not allow its players to compete in other televised golf tournaments without permission, of illegally attempting to block competition. 

The PGA Tour, alongside the famed Augusta National Golf Club and the United States Golf Association, also faces an investigation from the Department of Justice over the allegations of anticompetitive behavior.

Tags antitrust Atlanta National Golf Club Department of Justice Golf Lawsuit LIV Golf PGA Tour Phil Mickelson Public Investment Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia Sports Subpoena United States Golf Association

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