PGA Tour ‘confident’ Congress will understand new venture when it ‘learns more’
The PGA Tour is confident it will be able to assure Congress it controls the shock new venture with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund after a United States Senator opened an investigation into the deal.
The PGA Tour announced a week ago a plan to combine its commercial business with those of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which includes the LIV Golf series that the PGA Tour had previously been in open dispute with.
Richard Blumenthal, the Democratic Senator for Connecticut, wrote to PGA Tour chief executive Jay Monahan and his LIV Golf counterpart Greg Norman on Monday to say the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations was “reviewing matters” concerning the deal.
Senator Blumenthal wrote in his letter to Monahan: “PGA Tour’s agreement with PIF regarding LIV Golf raises concerns about the Saudi government’s role in influencing this effort and the risks posed by a foreign government entity assuming control over a cherished American institution.”
In response, the PGA Tour issued a statement which read: “We are confident that once Congress learns more about how the PGA Tour will control this new venture, they will understand the opportunities this will create for our players, our communities and our sport, all while protecting an American golf institution.”
The PGA Tour insists the new venture is not a merger and that it is not owned by PIF. It says PIF will be investing in this new subsidiary, with the PGA Tour retaining majority ownership and control.
Senator Blumenthal asked for relevant documents and information to be shared by June 26.
He noted in both letters that the announcement last Tuesday marked “a sudden and and drastic reversal of position” from the PGA Tour towards LIV Golf which raised “serious questions”.
The PGA Tour and LIV Golf had been involved in litigation in the US courts, with a number of players defecting from the PGA Tour to LIV for huge sums of money.
The new venture, which the PGA Tour promised would “unify the game of golf, on a global basis” and which also includes the DP World Tour, is sure to be a major topic of discussion as players gather for this week’s US Open at the Los Angeles Country Club.
Rory McIlroy, one of the PGA Tour’s most high-profile supporters in its battle with LIV, said last week he felt like “a sacrificial lamb” after the deal was confirmed.