Patrick Reed's law firm, Klayman's Law Group, has threatened CNN with a $450m defamation lawsuit if it doesn't issue a public apology to the 2018 Masters champion and LIV Golf player.
The lawsuit is issued to CNN's Jake Tapper and Bob Costas, who are alleged to have made defamatory comments towards Reed in a broadcast.
Klayman, on behalf of Reed, has demanded an on-air public apology from CNN and for the broadcast to be removed and retracted from CNN’s websites, streaming services and other forms of publication "in order to mitigate the damage which they have caused."
If this doesn't happen within five days, Klayman reserves the right "to sue Tapper, Costas and CNN pursuant to Florida Statute 770.01 for damages well in excess of $450,000,000 dollars which includes compensatory, actual, special and punitive damages."
"Late last week, CNN and Jake Tapper, along with CNN’s sports reporter Bob Costas, aired a highly defamatory piece titled, "The Court Fight Between PGA Tour and LIV Golf Escalates as the Saudi-backed LIV Tries to Avoid Handing Over Information," the paper issued by Klayman's Law Group reads.
"This widely viewed broadcast in Florida, the nation and internationally, was not only defamatory but also designed to incite ridicule, hatred and violence against LIV Golf players, such as my client Patrick Reed, a world champion professional golfer, by publishing that he takes “blood money” from the Saudi Public Investment Fund, in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy twenty-two (22) years ago.
"The article also, at a minimum, falsely implies that he using a lawsuit, of which he is not even a party, to dig up data, track down, intimidate and harass 9/11 victim families. The broadcast republishes with reckless disregard for the truth, a prior Bloomberg article, and references the Bloomberg article in the broadcast."
It later continues: "Mr. Reed is not a taker of “blood money,” as he simply plays on a golf tour financed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, which also owns large shares in a myriad of American companies such as Disney, Boeing, J.P. Morgan Chase, Amazon, Blackrock Inc., Microsoft and many others. Indeed, many sponsors of the PGA Tour benefit from this investment fund, and PGA Tour players have recently been granted releases by the PGA Tour to play in the Saudi International Golf Tournament in Jeddah, on February 2-5, 2023, also financed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund. Aramco, the oil company owned by the government of Saudi Arabia, also sponsors and finances a number of LPGA events. Are you accusing female professional golfers of also taking “blood money?
"Tapper, Costas and CNN are therefore on notice that if an on air public apology is not immediately made to Mr. Reed and the broadcast removed and retracted from CNN’s websites, streaming services and other forms of publication, in order to mitigate the damage which they have caused, as well as discipline meted out to Tapper and Costas, we reserve the right after five (5) days to sue Tapper, Costas and CNN pursuant to Florida Statute 770.01 for damages well in excess of $450,000,000 dollars which includes compensatory, actual, special and punitive damages."
A spokesperson for CNN responded: "This is a frivolous lawsuit, whose aim is to chill free speech and intimidate journalists from covering important stories about the Saudi government and the Saudi-backed LIV golf tournament. CNN will aggressively defend its reporting, which did not even mention the plaintiff in its coverage."
Reed also filed an Amended Complaint for $820m in December against Brandel Chamblee, the Golf Channel and multiple other journalists alleging defamation and tortious interference.
The Texan is teeing it up in this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on the DP World Tour as well as next week's Dubai Desert Classic. He is also set to play in the Saudi International early next month before the start of the LIV Golf League in Mexico on February 24th.
Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-6. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!
Elliott is currently playing:
Driver: Titleist TSR4
3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max
Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max
Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
How Many Tours Does The PGA Tour Run?
The PGA Tour runs a number of different professional golf tours, from feeder circuits to its over-50s PGA Tour Champions
By Ross Kilvington • Published
Padraig Harrington Reveals 'Most Impressive Driver I've Played With'
Padraig Harrington has praised Denmark Nicolai Hojgaard as the "most impressive driver" he's played with
By Ross Kilvington • Published