LIV Golf's COO involved in FURIOUS exchange with PIF governor before exit

Yasir Al-Rumayyan and Atul Khosla reportedly were involved in a heated exchange during LIV Golf's season-ending event in Miami.

Ben Smith's picture
Sun, 18 Dec 2022
LIV Golf's COO involved in FURIOUS exchange with PIF governor before exit

The former chief operating officer of LIV Golf was reportedly involved in a furious exchange with the governor of the Saudi wealth fund at their $50m team championship in Miami. 

Earlier in the week, news broke Atul Khosla had resigned from the breakaway tour. 

Khosla's departure came as a shock given his experience. He was touted as "a guru" in his field. 

He previously served as the chief of corporate development and brand officer for the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

Related: Greg Norman says he met with Justin Thomas over LIV

Khosla was widely expected to lead the LIV Golf League in 2023, but reports suggests things are not going to plan behind the scenes. 

The New York Times reported earlier in the week that LIV Golf was failing to meet its lofty targets. 

The tour's initial plan - named Project Wedge - appeared that crucial to its success was securing the signatures of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy

Even in a "best case scenario", it appeared that LIV Golf would still struggle to match the revenue streams of the PGA Tour by 2028. 

LIV Golf played their eighth and final event of their inaugural "beta test" season in October at Trump National Doral. 

On the ground LIV were hailing their debut season as an unbridled success. 

Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund that is bankrolling the tour, had told reporters that they intended to announce new signees for 2023 before the end of December. 

LIV bosses also appeared confident that a TV deal was also going to be announced. 

Although Sergio Garcia has appeared to confirm that Mito Pereira is interested in joining the likes of Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Cameron Smith, no new signings have been announced. 

There has also been no fresh news with regards to a TV deal. 

According to a report by The Telegraph's James Corrigan, Khosla and Al-Rumayyan were involved in a heated exchange in Miami. 

Corrigan wrote: 

"It has since been learned that at the concluding LIV event of this year’s eight-tournament series, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of the Saudi sovereign wealth fund that is bankrolling the breakaway league, gathered the executive and in a heated exchanged left the room in no doubt that greater inroads were expected." 

Khosla is not the only big name to depart LIV Golf. 

Sean Bratches, the former chief commercial officer of Formula 1, resigned before LIV's first event at Centurion Club after Greg Norman made headlines for his comments about the murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi. 

It has also been suggested that LIV Golf were keen on trying to get Mark King - a former TaylorMade executive - on board to replace Norman. 

King is now the chief executive at Taco Bell. LIV Golf denied they had approached King. 

Earlier this week Norman claimed this was an outright lie as he lashed out at the aforementioned Woods and McIlroy. 

The Telegraph have reported that the England-based agency - Performance 54 - is handling Khosla's duties in the interim before a successor is found. 

Next page: PGA Tour legal team deny anti-LIV meeting at "The Match"