Saudi LIV boss accused by PGA of stonewalling in lawsuit

Published Sat, Nov 5, 2022 · 12:27 PM

THE founder of a Saudi-backed golf league that is challenging the PGA Tour’s dominance of the sport is refusing to testify or provide documents in a lawsuit pitting the rivals leagues against each other.

Yasir Al-Rumayyan insists “there is no court in the United States with jurisdiction” over him or the Saudi investment fund that he runs and which is backing the upstart LIV tour, lawyers for the PGA said in court papers unsealed on Friday (Nov 4) in New York.

Al-Rumayyan, an avid golfer, founded LIV Golf in 2021 to compete with the long-established PGA Tour. The upstart tour poached several of golf’s top stars, including Greg Norman, Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, with the promise of huge paychecks.

The PGA responded by barring those players from its tournaments, which are considered the world’s most prestigious. The players swung back with a lawsuit that accused the PGA of being an “entrenched monopolist” that illegally strangles competitors.

As part of a countersuit, the PGA is seeking the testimony of Al-Rumayyan and documents from the Saudi investment fund. Initially, Al-Rumayyan said the requests would be honoured, according to PGA’s lawyers. Then he changed his mind.

Al-Rumayyan and the investment fund “have flatly objected to the Tour’s subpoenas, refused to produce a single responsive document and declined to appear for deposition”, the lawyers say.

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Al-Rumayyan says he and the Saudi investment fund are immune to discovery requests from US courts and denies they “are relevant to LIV’s lawsuit in any way”, according to the court papers.

John B Quinn, Al-Rumayyan’s lawyer, didn’t have an immediate comment on the filing. BLOOMBERG

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