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Bombshell PGA Tour document release was caused by clerical error

July 05, 2023
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Christian Petersen

Last week more than 350 pages of emails, documents and investment agreements from the PGA Tour were made public by the 15th Judicial Circuit in Florida's Palm Beach County, with more than a few items in the release spurring headlines and one even conjuring a public statement from Tiger Woods. Turns out the document release was not procedural, but an accident.

The PGA Tour filed an emergency motion with the 15th Judicial Circuit Wednesday morning to reseal the documents, citing that the tour originally produced them under the court’s protective order, which presumed the confidentiality of the discovery materials, and that the documents contain trade secrets. Attorney Larry Klayman, who has been seeking a class-action antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour, agreed, writing that the release of the documents appeared to be a clerical error by the court.

On July 1, Twitter user “desertdufferLLG” posted a snapshot of the documents in question, which have since been obtained and reviewed by Golf Digest. One of the more newsworthy items were remarks that the tour appeared to prepare for Tiger Woods for him to give during an appearance at a players meeting at the Travelers Championship in June 2022, less than three weeks after the inaugural LIV event in London. Some of the talking points include Woods asserting PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan “is the right guy for this war,” that it was time for tour players to “join the fight” and that tour players should “Do what I did: tell the Saudis to go f*** themselves. And mean it.”

Following the release of the documents, Woods took to Twitter on July 2, writing that he never saw the prepared remarks and that he did not appear at the meeting in question.

Other notable items in the court filings include the dire financial situation of the DP World Tour that prompted the PGA Tour to intervene; that the tour had to edit correspondence from DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley; proposed frameworks for future schedules and how a strategic alliance would work; and that the tour prepared emails and comments for some of its board members.

Monahan, LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman and PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan had been asked to testify at a Congressional public hearing July 11 regarding the proposed partnership. Monahan, however, remains on leave from his commissioner post due to health issues, and Norman and Al-Rumayyan passed on the invite citing “scheduling issues.” The tour will send COO Ron Price and board member Jimmy Dunne to the hearing. Dunne, along with tour board member Ed Herlihy, facilitated the deal between the tour and Saudi Arabia, while Price is currently acting as co-commissioner in the absence of Monahan.

The deal could be reviewed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which analyzes mergers regarding potential threats to the nation’s security. Additionally, the tour continues to be under an antitrust probe by the U.S. Department of Justice, and PIF’s investment into the tour is expected to fall under this investigation.