Judge denies LIV Golf’s request to extend discovery to Augusta members

A federal judge denied LIV Golf’s request to expand the discovery in an antitrust case against the PGA Tour to include communications with 10 members of Augusta National, including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

LIV Golf has issued subpoenas to five PGA Tour board members and retired PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem. It wants all communications between them and “any member of Augusta National” regarding a new tour, but not limited to LIV Golf, the Saudi Arabia-sponsored rival tournament. was released last year.

In a redacted filing last week, LIV Golf accused Rice and Arkansas banking executive Warren Stephens of “apparently attempting to influence” the Justice Department not to investigate the PGA Tour.

LIV Golf also accused Stephens of “apparently being asked by travel agents” to push Senator Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, to lobby against LIV.

In Monday’s ruling, U.S. Judge Susan van Keulen said LIV Golf’s request for the addition of 10 members Augusta National and the Masters Committee “is an excessive burden on the Parties to be convened and is not compatible. appropriate to the needs of the case.”

Communicating with the 10 additional members would go beyond what she describes as an “agreed goal”. That is four Augusta National employees, including President Fred Ridley, and seven members. Members include Brian Roberts, CEO of Comcast, which owns Golf Channel.

LIV Golf’s attorneys argued in the filing last week that part of the PGA Tour’s effort to remove competition from the new tournament was to threaten players, other tournaments, broadcasters, suppliers, and other players. provider and any other third party if they work with LIV Golf.

“Discovery has shown that the tour has introduced these threats not only through its own executives and employees, but also by sending other influencers on their behalf,” the law said. LIV Golf’s professor wrote in the file.

The judge said any connection based on documents cited by LIV Golf was “highly speculative”.

“The documents cited are not related to any party in any way,” she wrote in her order. “Nor do they reflect communications by or between identified additional targets. Indeed, for the most part, identified targets appear only as names in lists or in references. indirectly created by others.”

Tournament attorneys had previously argued that LIV Golf’s allegations that the tour leaned in favor of Augusta National to prevent LIV Golf players from competing at the Masters were baseless as the Masters were announced in December that everyone eligible will be able to compete.

16 Golf LIV players eligible for the Masters including Bryson DeChambeauwho is still one of three players still listed as plaintiffs in the antitrust lawsuit.


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