Senators Want Answers on PGA Tour-LIV Golf Deal

Panel calls in leaders of both organizations for hearing
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2023 6:40 PM CDT
Senators Want Answers on PGA Tour-LIV Golf Deal
Yasir Al-Rumayyan attends the champion's ceremony at the LIV Golf Invitational-Chicago tournament in Sugar Hill, Illinois, on Sept. 18.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

A Senate panel would like the PGA Tour and LIV Golf bosses to explain their planned merger. Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal said the July 11 hearing will look into "what the Saudi takeover means for the future of this cherished American institution and our national interest," the BBC reports. The Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations sent the invitation Wednesday to PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, LIV Golf League CEO Greg Norman, and Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund. The two organizations ended their competition early this month by announcing the deal.

The Antitrust Division of the Justice Department and the Senate Finance Committee already are looking into the agreement, per ESPN. The PGA Tour's policy board has not yet approved the deal. "Americans deserve to know what the structure and governance of this new entity will be," Blumenthal, the panel's chairman, said in a statement. The PGA Tour released a statement in which it said it looks forward to answering the panel's questions. But the Guardian reports that it's not clear that Rumayyan will agree to appear; Saudi officials have claimed sovereign immunity in the past to avoid giving public testimony and depositions in the US.

The Senate panel also wants to see a list of records pertaining to the relationship between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, per CBS Sports. The request covers documentation of communication between the two organizations, of any disagreements, of anything about PGA Tour's tax-exempt status, and showing organizational charts for the newly formed entity. The PGA Tour plans to reassure players, at least, that it will control the existing organization and the new one, per the Golf Channel, in an effort to counter the narrative that the deal is not so much a merger as it is a takeover. (More PGA Tour stories.)

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