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Anyone who may have thought that the finger-pointing between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour would slow down in the new year was sorely mistaken. The back-and-forth between the two sides is only getting more intense and now the families of 9/11 victims are involved.
Throughout LIV Golf’s inaugural season last year, 9/11 groups protested at various events around the country. The Saudi-backed circuit formally accused the PGA Tour via a December court filing of secretly coordinating the protests through a D.C. PR firm called Clout Public Affairs.
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.
“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 said.
Clout confirmed that it had been hired by both the PGA Tour and 9/11 Justice, a nonprofit made up of victims’ families.
PR Firm Working With PGA Tour Makes Serious Allegations Toward LIV
The PR firm reacted to LIV Golf’s court filing by making extremely serious allegations claiming that “LIV and its counsel seek to discover information about groups affiliated with 9/11 victims so the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia can spy on and harass them.”
LIV said that the allegations from Clout “is an affront to the court, to LIV, and to its course,” LIV Golf said in a court filing, according to Bloomberg.
“LIV’s position is not that Saudi Arabia had a ‘pristine’ reputation in the United States,” LIV said in a filing. “LIV’s position is that the Tour adopted anticompetitive measures to preserve its monopoly by invoking specific, anti-LIV opposition that the Tour itself secretly fomented through its agent, Clout.”
LIV Golf issued a subpoena to Clout in 2022 and in its most recent filing is asking the court to comply, but a judge has yet to rule on the subpoena.
A Nov. 21 letter from a Clout lawyer explained that the firm objected to 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.
Families of 9/11 victims recently announced their intentions to protest at the Masters in April after Augusta National announced eligible LIV golfers will be invited to play in the year’s first major.
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris