Skip to main content

Explainer: Saudi-funded LIV Golf’s legal battle with PGA

LIV Golf is accused of tracking 9/11 victims who have been protesting the breakaway league. The leader of 9/11 Justice called the accusation “bone-chilling,” and LIV has yet to comment.
LIV golf

LIV Golf’s legal fight with the PGA Tour is heating up again, this time with an accusation that the Saudi-funded league is gathering intelligence on the victims of the September 11 attacks. 

What happened: Last August, a group of LIV Golf players sued the PGA Tour for suspending them. The players were suspended after signing on to participate in LIV’s rival golf competition, which is backed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund. 

Last month, LIV Golf filed a motion in the US court system to compel the American company Clout Public Affairs, which represents the PGA, to produce documents related to the case. LIV also accused Clout of “fomenting the anti-Saudi sentiment,” according Golf Channel. 

Clout also notably represents 9/11 Justice, which advocates for the release of information related to September 11. 

On Tuesday, Clout accused LIV of using the lawsuit to gather intelligence on 9/11 victims and families who have criticized LIV. Clout alleged that LIV hired an unspecified American company “to track and monitor the activities of these 9/11 victims and families,” Bloomberg reported, citing court documents. 

LIV Golf did not respond to Al-Monitor’s request for comment.

Reactions: Brett Eagleson, who leads 9/11 Justice, told Al-Monitor that the allegation of information gathering “is bone-chilling to the 9/11 community.” 

Eagleson also slammed the American golfers and lawyers working with LIV, accusing them of taking “blood money and hiding behind the game of gold to justify their greed.”

9/11 Justice has long believed that some Saudi government officials played a role in orchestrating the attacks, pointing in particular to an FBI report the Biden administration declassified in 2021. The Saudi government has consistently denied the charges. 

Some LIV supporters on social media have tried to discredit 9/11 Justice’s work against LIV by tying the organization to the PGA Tour. The Twitter account @LIVGolfUpdates, which has no official connection to LIV, posted on Wednesday that Clout working for both the PGA Tour and 9/11 Justice is "the biggest story in golf.” 

Eagleson acknowledged 9/11 Justice and the PGA have Clout in common and said that 9/11 Justice made a “conscious and calculated decision” to hire the firm. 

Why it matters: LIV Golf's first season took the golf world by storm last year. The league has signed many of the most famous golfers in the world, including Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia. 

LIV Golf has won many supporters in North America due to the unprecedented amount of guaranteed money it offers to participating golfers — including lesser-known ones. The minimum payout for last year’s tournaments was more than $100,000. 

9/11 Justice has protested LIV Golf from the beginning, particularly former US President Donald Trump’s relationship with LIV. Trump’s golf courses hosted two LIV tournaments last year. 

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in

Gulf Briefing Gulf Briefing

Gulf Briefing

Top GCC stories in your inbox each week

Trend Reports

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (4th R) attends a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (3rd L) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on February 22, 2019. (Photo by HOW HWEE YOUNG / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read HOW HWEE YOUNG/AFP via Getty Images)

From roads to routers: The future of China-Middle East connectivity

A general view shows the solar plant in Uyayna, north of Riyadh, on March 29, 2018. - On March 27, Saudi announced a deal with Japan's SoftBank to build the world's biggest solar plant. (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP) (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)

Regulations on Middle East renewable energy industry starting to take shape

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial