LIV Golf Files Lawsuit To Oust DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley

The start-up has cited an “unlawful conspiratorial agreement” between the PGA Tour and DP World Tour

Keith Pelley speaks at the 2022 BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth
(Image credit: Getty Images)

LIV Golf has not only shaken up the game with its ability to attract some of the world’s top players to its tournaments, but away from the course, it is also fighting multiple legal fronts as it bids to establish itself at the top of the game.

In August, 11 LIV Golf players filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour, challenging their suspensions. While several players have subsequently had their names removed from the lawsuit, a trial is scheduled for January 2024 to determine the outcome. 

Video: What Is LIV Golf?

Now, it has emerged that an extension of that lawsuit was filed on 16 November in the US District Court for the Middle District of Florida in Jacksonville. The DP World Tour is seeking to “quash” a subpoena from LIV Golf looking to remove DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley, and have the DP World Tour answer 35 questions as part of its discovery window in the matter between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour.

At the heart of the issue is what lawyers for LIV Golf describe as an “unlawful conspiratorial agreement” between the PGA Tour and DP World Tour in their strategic alliance. Lawyers for Pelley believe he does not need to comply with the subpoena, citing a federal rule limiting the court’s jurisdiction to those “within 100 miles of where the person resides, is employed, or regularly transacts business in person”.

The motion read: “The mere presence of one of its directors [PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan] near Jacksonville does not somehow transform the European Tour’s overseas business operations as physically transacted within 100 miles of the place of compliance.” The DP World Tour's headquarters are at Wentworth, England, several thousand miles from the Florida courthouse. 

LIV described the DP World Tour’s argument as “artfully worded half-truths, omissions of critical facts, and a misleading picture of [the DP World Tour’s] extensive contacts with this district.” It also cited meetings Pelley had attended with Monahan in March 2021 in Florida and noted that Pelley: “is scheduled to return to this district in a mere two weeks’ time for another conspiratorial meeting with the PGA Tour [and others] targeting LIV.”  

There have been reports that top executives, including Monahan and Pelley, will meet at the made-for-TV exhibition tournament The Match next week in Florida to discuss the LIV Golf threat. However, a PGA Tour official has denied that is case. LIV also also pointed out that the DP World Tour has close affiliations to the US, saying: “The 2022 schedule for the DP World Tour boasts six American flags [events] denoting tournaments in the US that qualify for points on the Tour, more than any other country on its schedule.” Those tournaments include three Majors.

The dispute between LIV Golf and the DP World Tour will be ruled upon by Judge Laura Lothman Lambert in  Jacksonville, Florida, on 5 January 2023 after she granted the DP World Tour’s request for an oral hearing to “quash” the subpoena.

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