Videos by OutKick
Patrick Reed does not appreciate the way CNN, anchors Jake Tapper and Bob Costas, and other high-profile figures are covering the ongoing feud between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour and, therefore, has threatened them with a $450 defamation lawsuit,
Lawyer Larry Klayman, on behalf of Reed, sent CNN a letter warning the outlet about its recent reporting about LIV Golf’s connection to Saudi Arabia.
Reed, the 2018 Masters champion, left the PGA Tour last year to join LIV Golf, which is funded by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF).
Klayman has also demanded an on-air public apology and for a specific broadcast involving Costas and Tapper to be removed and retracted from CNN’s website. If this doesn’t happen within five days, Klayman reserves the right “to sue Tapper, Costas and CNN pursuant to Florida Statute 770.01 for damages well in excess of $450,000,000 dollars which includes compensatory, actual, special and punitive damages.”
The specific segment from the broadcast in question was part of Thursday’s edition of ‘The Lead’ when Tapper dove into the legal battles between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf.
“Last year, with that money, they snagged several top PGA players to come on board,” Tapper said. “The human-rights-challenged Saudis did this by offering these players quite a bit of money. A lot of money. Blood money? Sure, maybe. A lot of it.”
Tapper also listed off the Saudi Arabian regime’s human-rights transgressions.
Costas seemingly agreed with everything Tapper had to say while noting “many U.S. companies, including some who are sponsors of the PGA, have business relationships with Saudi Arabia, and the United States and sports leagues in the United States are deeply invested in China. That doesn’t change the fact that these individual golfers had a choice to make.”
Neither Tapper nor Costas mentioned Patrick Reed by name in the segment.
Reed took specific issue with Tapper’s use of the phrase “blood money.” In his letter, Klayman pointed out that large shares in a number of American companies are financed by Saudi’s PIF including Disney, Amazon, Microsoft, and many others.
A CNN spokesperson shared the following response to the threat of the defamation suit: This is a frivolous lawsuit, whose aim is to chill free speech and intimidate journalists from covering important stories about the Saudi government and the Saudi-backed LIV golf tournament. CNN will aggressively defend its reporting, which did not even mention the plaintiff in its coverage.
This isn’t the first defamation suit involving Reed and a television network since he joined LIV Golf.
In August 2022, Reed sued Golf Channel and anchor Brandel Chamblee for $750 million and later added Golf Digest and its publishing company Gannett to the suit as well.
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris