According to a petition filed by the PGA Tour on Friday in U.S. District Court, LIV Golf and its breakthrough introduction to professional golf began as a concept called “Project Wedge.”
“Project Wedge” was the internal designation in the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the LIV Golf under a proposal that aims to have Yasser Al Rumayan, the governor of the PIF and Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, ousted and in compliance with the a lawsuit that was filed against the Tour by a group of players and LIV Golf earlier this summer.
While Al Rumayan and PIF are not named in the lawsuit, the fund invested $2 billion and owns approximately 85 percent of LIV, although the exact amount has been redacted in court documents.
Lawyers for Al Rumayan and the PIF argued that the foundation “is an organ and an integral part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” and “is entitled to sovereign immunity unless the Tour can establish an exception. It can’t.” The motion to quash Tour’s request also argued that PIF and Al Rumayan only provide “high-level oversight, not comprehensive oversight of day-to-day operations.” [of LIV]and argued that “applicable PIF law prohibits the disclosure of inside information.”
Tour’s response, however, claimed that Al-Rumayan “functions as the LIV’s chief executive, meeting regularly with LIV’s nominee CEO Greg Norman, approving the LIV’s budget, making key strategic decisions, participating in recruiting players in the United States, and managing afternoon LIV. – current operations.
“The PIF and Mr. Al-Rumayan are the central figures. They are wizards behind the scenes: they command, approve expenses and provide money,” the petition says.
In fact, Tour’s attorneys point out that LIV Golf’s own rules and regulations refer to Al Rumayan as the course’s “chairman, general manager and commissioner” and that he actively met with and recruited LIV players.
The nearly 200-page proposal paints a picture of close collaboration between PIF and LIV, including more than 400 emails between PIF executives and LIV executives in the United States that date back to the earliest remnants of the rival league, including “evidence regarding PIF involvement in [Premier Golf League] and the true cause of the collapse of PGL is under the control of the PIF.”
Northern District of California Judge Susan van Keulen could rule on the motions based on written arguments or require a personal hearing before making a decision.