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LIV Player, Patrick Reed, Sues PGA and NBC's Golf Channel

*The views expressed in this article do not represent the views of Santa Clara University.

Credit: Peetlesnumber1, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons Patrick Reed, the nine-time PGA Tour Champion with over $43 million in career winnings, has filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida seeking injunctive relief and compensatory damages in excess of $750 million against four members of NBC’s Golf Channel. The suit alleges that on-air personalities Brandel Chamblee, Damon Hack, Shane Bacon, and Eamon Lynch have conspired to defame Reed through the spreading of injurious falsehoods and tortious interference.

The complaint alleges that Chamblee and other Golf Channel personalities were conspiring with PGA Tour officials in a concerted attack against Reed and other golfers who have left the PGA in favor of the LIV Golf Tour. The complaint outlines a pattern of defamation, highlighted by the misreporting of information, reckless disregard for the truth, and actual and constitutional malice, as well as the omission of key facts with the intent to mislead the public and sway public opinion against Reed and LIV Golf.

During a podcast interview in June, Chamblee alleged that “Reed aligned himself with a tyrannical, murderous leader,” referring to the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salam, and went on to allege that “Reed would be willing to play golf with Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, . . . Vladimir Putin” and other tyrannical world leaders. U.S. intelligence reports have implicated bin Salam as being responsible for a 2018 operation that led to the murder of a journalist in Saudi Arabia, and have further targeted the authoritarian leader for numerous human rights violations and the elimination of political dissidents. Reed’s counter to the claims is that he simply plays golf and has never endorsed the crown prince, bin Salam.

Since its inception in 2022, LIV Golf, sponsored and funded by bin Salam’s regime via the nation’s Private Investment Fund, has siphoned significant talent from the PGA Tour, resulting in multiple suspensions issued by the PGA Tour and numerous lawsuits between both groups. Reed, who has become the target of much ridicule, believes that the current remarks against him were made on behalf of the PGA Tour. His lawsuit claims there is a coordinated effort to eliminate LIV Golf so that the PGA Tour and NBC’s Golf Channel can continue to “rake in billions of dollars in revenue.”

LIV Golf has been the subject of much controversy in the relatively short time since its creation. Family members of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks have been protesting LIV Golf due to its Saudi Arabian funding, although investigations into the event have not found that Saudi officials were complicit in the attacks. As we see with Reed, the golfers who choose to participate in LIV Golf events are not free from ridicule either. Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, and Lee Westwood are among the ranks of other former PGA Tour veterans who have had sponsorship and endorsement deals pulled as a direct result of their affiliation with LIV Golf.

Reed will be represented by former U.S. Justice Department Prosecutor, Larry Klayman, who told reporters that the “PGA Tour and its partner NBC Golf Channel [are on a] mission to destroy a top LIV Golf Tour player, his family, as well as all of the Liv Golf players, to further their agenda and alleged collaborative efforts to destroy the new LIV Golf Tour.” Klayman went on to say that the “calculated and malicious attacks have created hate, aided and abetted a hostile workplace environment, and have caused substantial financial and emotional damage and harm to Mr. Reed and his family.” The estimated cost of the attacks in lost sponsorships alone is estimated at over $750 million.


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