Patrick Reed ordered to pay legal fees for defendants in dismissed $1 billion lawsuit

HONG KONG, CHINA - NOVEMBER 11: Patrick Reed of United States reacts during the third round of the Hong Kong Open at Hong Kong Golf Club on November 11, 2023 in Hong Kong, China. (Photo by Yu Chun Christopher Wong/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)
Patrick Reed isn't receiving a billion dollars. Instead, he's on the hook for legal fees for 18 different people and companies. (Photo by Yu Chun Christopher Wong/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)

Patrick Reed's foray into the U.S. court system has resulted in a double bogey.

The combative LIV Golf player was ordered by a federal judge Friday to pay the legal fees of the defendants in his series of defamation lawsuits, which had been seeking a total of more than $1 billion in damages.

Those lawsuits, filed against 18 journalists and news organizations including Golf Channel and its analyst Brandel Chamblee, had already been dismissed by U.S. district judge Timothy Corrigan. Reed had alleged the array of voices had been defaming him since he was 23 years old with the goal to “destroy his reputation" in a way that cost him “multi-million dollar sponsorship deals” and resulted him being "terminated" by the PGA Tour.

Corrigan dismissed those claims with prejudice in September, writing "While Reed may be frustrated at the negative media coverage he receives (some of which seems over the top), under Florida law and the First Amendment, Reed fails to bring actionable defamation claims and his cases therefore must be dismissed.”

In his decision Saturday, Corrigan ruled the defendants were entitled to an award attorney's fees under Florida's anti-SLAPP statute, a law designed to discourage using the legal system as a means of harassing one's enemies and critics.

Corrigan stated that Reed "brought no viable defamation claims in his original and Amended Complaint" and that his lawsuits were "brought primarily because Defendants exercised the constitutional right of free speech in their publications about Reed as a public figure."

Corrigan also denied motions by Reed requesting the judge's recusal and to reconsider his dismissal of the lawsuit.

It remains to be seen if this is Reed's final battle in a legal saga that was one of the wildest subplots in the battle between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf. Reed jumped from the former to the latter in June 2022, at a time when any player who made such a move faced a torrent of criticism for taking Saudi Arabian money.

While some players tried to disregard such criticism and others actively disputed it, Reed was the only one who was so incensed he tried to take critics to court. He even listed a string of personal attacks he had heard while playing — supposedly because of the alleged defamation — such as "You f***ing suck" and "You cheat in college and on tour and you're a piece of s***."