A judge has ruled the PGA Tour can add Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) and its governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan as defendants in their countersuit against the LIV Golf League.
The ruling was confirmed on 21 February. The Wall Street Journal first reported the news that Beth Labson Freeman, sitting in the Northern District of California, had granted the PGA Tour's motion.
PGA Tour lawyers had requested leave to amend its counterclaim to LIV's antitrust litigation by adding PIF and Al-Rumayyan as defendants.
The PGA Tour have stated LIV had interfered with players' contracts. LIV say the PGA Tour is acting "as a monopoly in the professional golf market".
Attorneys representing LIV Golf had argued the motion to delay would cause harm to their players who had been suspended.
In her ruling, Freeman wrote:
The judge said that she was "sensitive to the golfers' need to earn a living", but LIV had:
"The wizard behind the curtain"
It's hard to keep up, but this news comes after another judge - Susan van Keulen - rejected arguments from PIF lawyers that Al-Rumayyan and the Saudi wealth fund couldn't be deposed by PGA lawyers.
LIV attorneys had argued that Al-Rumayyan, 53, and the PIF had sovereign immunity and were therefore protected from legal probes.
It was previously argued that PIF and Al-Rumayyan were "merely investors in LIV Golf".
PGA Tour attorneys argue the Saudi businessman - who is also the chief executive Newcastle United - is the real mastermind of the breakaway tour.
It has been reported that lawyers will ask a federal judge to review the decision to allow PGA attorneys to depose the PIF and Al-Rumayyan.
A hearing for that is scheduled for 24 February, the same day in which LIV begin their second season in Mexico.
This legal battle began on 3 August 2022 when Phil Mickelson and 10 other professional golfers filed an antitrust lawsuit.
Mickelson and the other players withdrew from the litigation when LIV Golf joined Bryson DeChambeau, Matt Jones and Peter Uihlein as the remaining plaintiffs.
DeChambeau has said the only reason he remains involved in the litigation is because he alleges the PGA Tour are withholding bonus money he earned from the inaugural Player Impact Program, won by Tiger Woods.
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