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The PGA Tour and LIV Golf Agree to Dismiss all Lawsuits With Prejudice

The PGA Tour and LIV Golf have filed a Joint Notice of Dismissal with prejudice in the Northern DIstrict of California. The filing brings an end to nearly a year of hotly contested litigation between the two parties, who have more recently been mired in discovery-related disputes in the Ninth Circuit.

The filing comes on the heels of a bombshell announcement by PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan and Saudi Public Investment Fund Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan last week that the parties have come to terms on an initial framework agreement that would see the PIF and PGA Tour contribute their assets into a new entity.

Most notable about today's dismissal is that it is filed with prejudice. This means that all litigation and all claims between the two parties - both now and in the future - are effectively terminated. "In the future" means that even if the PGA Tour and PIF partnership is voted down by the PGA Tour's Policy Board or blocked by the Department of Justice, the lawsuits cannot be refiled, and the PGA Tour and LIV would essentially be forced to co-exist. The parties likely did not have an appetite for negotiating the framework of an industry-altering agreement with the constant threat of litigation restarting at any moment looming over their heads.

Despite today's filing, the PGA Tour and PIF/LIV saga might be a long way from over. The parties will now focus their efforts on structuring their partnership in a way that earns approval from both the PGA Tour's Policy Board and the Department of Justice. Although it is safe to assume that Jay Monahan, Jimmy Dunne, and Ed Herlihy (negotiators of the deal) will vote in favor of the partnership, the sentiment of the other eight members of the Policy Board - which includes Rory McIlroy and 4 other players - is less than clear. Additionally, several members of Congress have expressed concerns with the proposal to date, and the DOJ had a head start in its antitrust investigation. However, even if the partnership does not clear those hurdles, the lawsuits between the two parties are effectively over.

John Nucci is the Chief Golf Law Correspondent for Conduct Detrimental and a Corporate Associate Attorney in New York. He can be reached on Twitter at @JNucci23 or by email at [email protected]

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