“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 at the conclusion of a section filled with redactions.
But the tour, the wealth fund has complained, has misconstrued and exaggerated the influence of the shareholder agreement. And in a court filing last year, before the tour received a copy of the agreement, the wealth fund’s lawyers said it “does not 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 are not expected to face each other at trial until at least next January, and the addition of new parties to the litigation could fuel calls to extend that timeline.
The tour has hardly been alone in seeking a range 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 any other third parties if 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 persons on its behalf.”
LIV, just before a redacted portion of its submission, said that “the threat of a change in relationship with Augusta’s members was used as a stick to discourage one of the top golfers in the world from joining LIV.”
In its statement in the filing, the tour said that LIV’s request “goes well beyond the issues in this case, imposes an undue burden on third parties, and exceeds the bounds of relevant and proportional discovery.”
In December, Augusta National said it would not change the standards that govern Masters invitations before its 2023 tournament, opening the door for more than a dozen LIV players, including six past Masters winners, to compete this April.
Kevin Draper contributed reporting.