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PGA Accuses LIV Golf of Using Lawsuit to Get Data on September 11th Families

Paul Kasabian

The LIV Golf League has been accused of hiring a third-party United States firm to track and monitor families of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack, per Erik Larson of Bloomberg.

That accusation is part of a dense, multi-layered and vicious legal battle between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour at the core but has now roped in those aforementioned 9/11 families, who have been openly critical of the upstart golf league because of its financial backing from Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund.

Larson provided the context behind the accusation: Clout Public Affairs serves as the PGA's public relations firm but also represents 9/11 Justice, which describes itself as representing "a grassroots movement made up of the 9/11 community" and whose stated goal is to "not rest until the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been held to account for its role in the murder of nearly 3,000 Americans."

Meanwhile, LIV Golf (and LIV golfers Matt Jones, Bryson DeChambeau and Peter Uihlein) are pursuing an anti-trust lawsuit against the PGA Tour.

LIV Golf filed a motion in December seeking documents from Clout on that front, per Rex Hoggard of the Golf Channel:

"In December, LIV Golf filed a motion in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to compel Clout Public Affairs, a Houston-based firm, to produce documents in conjunction with the ongoing antitrust lawsuit filed by LIV and a threesome of former PGA Tour players against the Tour last year in Northern California."

However, Clout argued that the motion is simply a ploy to "cull sensitive communications" with 9/11 Justice in order to get more information on those families, per Hoggard:

"LIV's real objective in subpoenaing Clout, however, is to cull sensitive communications from Clout that cannot conceivably be useful in LIV's antirust case. Specifically, LIV wants Clout's communications with 9/11 Justice, a group of victims and families who have advocated for years in favor of full disclosure and accountability regarding the Kingdom's role in the September 11, 2001, terror attacks."

The motion also alleges, per Abigail Gentrup of Front Office Sports, that LIV has "brazenly hired a firm in the United States to track and monitor the activities of these 9/11 victims and families" although they have nothing to do with the LIV Golf case.

LIV Golf has alleged that the PGA Tour is running a "smear campaign" against them, per Larson, and that the organization "organized and likely funded" 9/11 families' protests at LIV events.

LIV Golf was founded in 2021 and began play in 2022. The PGA Tour has indefinitely suspended any player who defected for LIV Golf, although some players chose to preemptively resign, such as Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson.

The Saudia Arabian regime has been accused of using LIV, as well as other sporting and entertainment events in the country and its purchase of the Premier League's Newcastle United, as a means of sportswashing——using sports teams, leagues and events to distract from a nation's misdeeds and improve its reputation globally.


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