The ghost of Anthony Kim cannot rest in peace. His name is back in the public sphere this week, this time in court documents.
Kim’s name appeared on a list of 71 players who LIV Golf alleges communicated with various PGA Tour officials in regards to alternative tours/leagues in the last three years. The list of players includes current and former pros such as Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Rory McIlroy, all the way down to Andy Ogletree, who competed in just one LIV event.
Kim’s alleged involvement is interesting as he has not played on the PGA Tour in more than a decade, walking away from the pro ranks in the mid-2010s with what is understood to be multi-million dollar insurance policy. Kim last spoke with media in 2015 when he labeled golf as “a fond memory of mine.” In the years before and since, he had and has avoided public appearances, occasionally photographed in the wild as if he were some golfing Sasquatch, making his name the most surprising on LIV’s list.
A LIV Golf representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The list of subjects includes more than 100 agents, vendors, sponsors and governing bodies such as Augusta National and the R&A. As part of the discovery process, LIV Golf filed what is called an interrogatory, requesting the PGA Tour clarify any communications between the Tour and those entities in the last three years with regards to LIV Golf or anything within the scope of LIV’s launch (like the Premier Golf League, which failed to launch).
The PGA Tour assigned 31 former or current employees who could speak with entities on behalf of the Tour, and now must submit documentation of when communication was made, the medium in which it was made (in-person, phone, text, email, etc.) and with whom it was made. In other words, Anthony Kim fans can reasonably expect to learn a bit about his involvement (if any) in the LIV v. PGA Tour debate. For example, Jason Gore, a former Tour player and current player advisor, has unsurprisingly been listed as communicating with agents and players about the subject or scope of LIV Golf over the last three years. As for commissioner Jay Monahan, he has communicated with all types of entities.
Where does the lawsuit stand?
There are technically two lawsuits between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, all rolled up into one. There’s the initial antitrust lawsuit waged by LIV and three remaining golfers (there was once 11 golfer plaintiffs), which dates to August 3, 2022, as well as a countersuit filed by the PGA Tour against LIV on Sept. 28.
Attorneys from both sides have been actively meeting in recent weeks to figure out the scope of discovery, a period in any lawsuit in which documents are shared between parties that will help prove or disprove the many allegations lobbed between them. As a reminder, the initial complaint filed by LIV golfers in early August was more than 100 pages long and included hundreds of allegations.
Chief among the current deliberations is just who was able to speak on behalf of the PGA Tour in the last three years. The acting judge over these deliberations, Susan van Keulen, has decided that any communications after Sept. 1, 2019, need be included in the discovery process. And because the idea of LIV has evolved over that time, the topic of communication can be related to any of the following: LIV Golf League, Premier Golf League, Super Golf League, Saudi Golf League and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia’s interest in golf.
The Tour has understandably worked to limit the list of potential people/entities who could speak on its behalf. For one, the debate has raged across social media, traditional media, PGA Tour practice ranges, podcasts and even in PGA Tour press conferences. With that in mind, the Tour clarified that its members, of which there are about 250, are not authorized to speak on behalf of the Tour and instead are entirely independent contractors.
Instead, the Tour has listed only 31 people who can speak on its behalf, all of which are former or current employees, and has been processing thousands of pages of documented communication. As of Oct. 21, the Tour had produced more than 32,000 pages. An in-person hearing is set to take place Monday in San Jose, Calif.
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