September 21, 2022: -LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman will see Capitol Hill meet with members of Congress as the Saudi-backed league messes up with the PGA Tour.
LIV players are filing an antitrust suit against the PGA Tour. The PGA Tour has been lobbying against LIV since 2021. Therefore, since July, the Justice Department has been probing the PGA Tour’s possible anticompetitive behavior.
“LIV Golf is coming to the Hill to meet with lawmakers from both parties,” LIV’s chief spokesperson, Jonathan Grella.
“Given the PGA Tour is attempting to stifle our progress in reimagining the game, we think it’s imperative to educate members on LIV’s business model and counter the Tour’s anticompetitive efforts,” Jonathan added.
Norman is slated to meet with a few lawmakers. Reps. Nancy Mace, R-N.C., and Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., lead the casual congressional golf caucus.
The LIV Golf league was founded as a competitor to the PGA Tour and is financed by KSA’s Public Investment Fund. LIV has already poached prominent golfers such as Phil Mickelson from the PGA Tour, and Norman is a former tour star. The tour has barred LIV-affiliated players from participating in its events.
LIV Golf is consistently calling out the PGA Tour’s actions as anticompetitive. The upstart league added that the PGA’s suspension of LIV players was an “effort to stifle competition.”
On the other side, critics have called out the league’s associations with the Saudi government, seeing it as an attempt at “sports washing” to improve the nation’s image. Critics have noted that the Saudi government’s incredible wealth makes any idea of actual competition a moot point. LIV has one more powerful supporter in former President Donald Trump, whose Bedminster, New Jersey, country club hosted a league event in the summer. His Doral course in Miami will have another LIV event at the October end.
In 2021, the PGA Tour paid $360,000 to the company DLA Piper to lobby lawmakers on multiple topics, including “Saudi Golf League proposals.” Several lawmakers, which include Sens. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. have expressed concern regarding LIV.
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan is taking a hard line against LIV.
“We welcome healthy competition. The LIV Saudi Golf League is not that. It’s an irrational threat, one not concerned with the return on investment or a real game growth,” Monahan told journalists earlier this year.