Patrick Reed refiles defamation lawsuit in Jacksonville U.S. District Court, adds Golfweek, Gannett

Patrick Reed is suing several members of the golf media for defamation and has re-filed his lawsuit in the Middle District of Florida, which includes Jacksonville and the First Coast.
Patrick Reed is suing several members of the golf media for defamation and has re-filed his lawsuit in the Middle District of Florida, which includes Jacksonville and the First Coast.

Patrick Reed has taken his legal issues to the PGA Tour's home on the First Coast.

Reed, a nine-time PGA Tour winner and the 2018 Masters champion, has refiled his $750 million defamation lawsuit against Golf Channel with the Middle District U.S. Court in Jacksonville, which also covers Ponte Vedra Beach, the location of Tour headquarters.

Reed's suit, which originally named Golf Channel and commentator Brandel Chamblee, had originally been filed in Texas on Aug. 16. In addition to re-filing in Jacksonville, the suit has been expanded to add Golf Channel commentators Damon Hack, Shane Bacon and Eamon Lynch.

Recent PGA Tour vs. LIV Golf coverage

Since Lynch also is a columnist for Golfweek, Reed's attorney, Larry Klayman, also is suing Golfweek and Gannett, its parent company.

Gannett also owns the Florida Times-Union.

The suit accuses Chamblee, Hack, Bacon and Lynch, along with the PGA Tour, for "conspiracy, defamation, injurious falsehood and tortious interference" because of their on-air comments and columns about Reed, accusations that he has cheated in golf tournaments and his jump to LIV Golf.

“The PGA Tour’s and its ‘partner’ the NBC’s Golf Channel’s mission is to destroy a top LIV Golf Tour player, his family, as well as all of the LIV Golf players, to further their agenda and alleged collaborative efforts to destroy the new LIV Golf Tour,” said Reed’s attorney, Larry Klayman, in a lengthy news release. “As alleged in the Complaint, these calculated malicious attacks have created hate, aided and abetted a hostile workplace environment, and have caused substantial financial and emotional damage and harm to Mr. Reed and his family.”

Klayman also claimed that the media members in the lawsuit have accused Reed of being a "cheater, liar, a thief, a murderer and someone who accepts blood money from terrorists."

Klayman has been described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as "pathologically litigious." He sued the Clinton administration 18 times, filed a lawsuit claiming former President Barack Obama was not a natural-born U.S. citizen and another alleging that the Obama administration allowed the Ebola virus to enter the U.S. to harm people of the "Caucasian race and Jewish-Christian religion and has sued President Biden, alleging Mr. Biden pressured YouTube to suppress Klayman channel.

He also sued China for $20 trillion, claiming it created the COVID-19 virus as a biological weapon against the U.S.

Klayman, who has been identified as a "right-wing activist," nevertheless sued Donald Trump supporter Roger Stone last year for comments Stone made on social media.

He has been barred for life from appearing in seperate federal courts in California and New York and is under suspension by the D.C. Bar.

Reed has earned $5,958,500 million on LIV Golf since it began in June. He has earned more than $37 million in 12 years on the PGA Tour.

The re-filing of Reed's lawsuit wasn't the only legal news involving the PGA Tour and LIV Golf. The Tour has now counter-sued LIV Golf in U.S. District Court of Northern California, claiming that LIV is using its players and golf "to sportswash the recent history of Saudi atrocities and to further the Saudi Public Investment Fund’s Vision 2030 initiatives.”

In the countersuit, the Tour said that LIV Golf induced the PGA Tour players it has signed -- and who have all been suspended from the Tour -- by folding their legal fees into their contracts.

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has said there is no middle ground between the tour and LIV Golf.
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has said there is no middle ground between the tour and LIV Golf.

The Tour claims that LIV Golf is benefiting from the players rising to a world-class level by playing on the PGA Tour.

"A key component of LIV’s strategy has been to intentionally induce Tour members to breach their Tour agreements and play in LIV events while seeking to maintain their Tour memberships and play in marquee Tour events like The Players Championship and the FedEx Cup Playoffs, so LIV can free ride off the Tour and its platform," the counter-suit claims. “LIV has openly sought to damage the Tour’s business relationships with its members by inducing them to breach their contractual requirements, even going so far as to pay members’ legal fees to make breaching their contracts with Tour more enticing.”

Monahan also said in an interview with ESPN that he has no plans to strike any deals with LIV Golf, despite a recent plea by Rory McIlroy.

"It's not in the cards ... it hasn't been in the cards," he said.

Eleven LIV players were part of the original lawsuit on Aug. 3 before Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Hudson Swafford and Talor Gooch asked to be removed on Tuesday, joining Abraham Ancer, Carlos Ortiz, Pat Perez and Jason Kokrak, who all previously removed their names. LIV Golf, who joined the suit in an amended complaint filed Aug. 27., and just three players remain: Bryson DeChambeau, Matt Jones and Peter Uihlein.

“This case is not about unfair competition – if anyone is competing unfairly, it is LIV, not the Tour," the counter-suit said. "Instead, it is a cynical effort to avoid competition and to free ride off of the Tour’s investment in the development of professional golf. Plaintiffs’ allegations are baseless and entirely without legal merit.”

Golfweek.com also contributed to this report.

Contact Garry Smits at gsmits@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter @GSmitter

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Patrick Reed refiles defamation lawsuit in Jacksonville, adds Golfweek, Gannett