LIV Golf Accuses PGA Tour Of Secretly Coordinating 9/11 Victim Groups’ Protests Of The Saudi-Backed Circuit

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LIV Golf has been on the receiving end of plenty of criticism from the moment it launched its inaugural season earlier this year. The Saudi Arabia-backed circuit hasn’t just been criticized by golf fans and the media, but politicians and the families of 9/11 victims as well.

LIV Golf events around the United States have been met with protests by 9/11 groups and the upstart league believes the PGA Tour has played a role.

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According to the Wall Street Journal, LIV Golf has formally accused the Tour via court filing of secretly coordinating protests and backlash from 9/11 groups through Washington, D.C. PR firm Clout Public Affairs LLC.

“The Tour has secretly directed, coordinated, and funded public protest, defamatory advertising, and other tactics to stir up anti-Saudi sentiment directed at its first-ever global competitor, all in an effort to maintain its unlawful monopoly,” LIV alleged in a filing in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia submitted December 13.

“The Tour knew how bad it would look if its fingerprints were on the campaign to link LIV Golf to the tragedy of the Sept. 11 attacks, so the Tour hid behind Clout,” the filing goes on to say.

Saudi Arabia’s Involvement In 9/11

Saudi Arabia will always be associated with the attack on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, given that 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi citizens. Osama bin Laden, who coordinated the terrorist attack, was born in Saudi Arabia as well.

Despite those facts, LIV alleges that the PGA Tour and Clout “organized and likely funded” the protests by 9/11 families at tournaments. The groups of protestors have even bough local television ads to play in certain markets where tournaments were being held.

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Greg Norman is the CEO of LIV. (Photo by Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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Terry Strada, the national chairperson of 9/11 Families United, said “these accusations are outrageous.” 

“Neither I nor 9/11 Families United took a penny from the PGA or anyone connected to golf.  Over the past 21 years, I have dedicated literally thousands of hours of my own time into efforts to hold the Saudis accountable and am disgusted, but frankly not surprised, to see the Saudis attacking us personally today. Shame on them — again.”

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David Polyansky, Clout’s president, confirmed that the firm was representing the PGA Tour.

“As an American, a Marine veteran, and a golf fan, there are few causes I’m prouder to have worked on,” Polyansky said.

LIV Golf issued a subpoena to Clout earlier this year and in its most recent court filing is asking the court to comply. A Nov. 21 letter from a Clout lawyer explained that the firm objected the subpoena arguing part of its work may have been done for clients other than the PGA Tour and that it is protected under the First Amendment.

Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris

Written by Mark Harris

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