Tuesday October 3, 2023

Senate Isn’t Done Probing PGA Tour-LIV Golf Deal

  • Further investigation will likely follow Tuesday's hearing in Washington D.C.
  • PGA Tour, Saudi PIF have until Dec. 31 to finalize a definitive agreement.
Jack Gruber-USA TODAY
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October 3, 2023 | Podcast
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Tuesday’s Senate hearing exploring the PGA Tour’s controversial deal with Saudi Arabia likely won’t be the last as the two parties move toward a definitive agreement by their self-imposed Dec. 31 deadline.

“We need to learn more,” Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations chair Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) said as the three-hour session concluded. “We’re going to continue this inquiry. We’re going to ask that the other potential witnesses that we invited actually come and share their perspectives and information.”

Those other potential witnesses include Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan and LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman — who both declined invites to Tuesday’s session. PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan — set to return from medical leave next week — would also be a welcomed guest to future hearings.

Major revelations from Tuesday’s session included Al-Rumayyan’s efforts to secure membership to Augusta National Golf Club and the R&A as part of the overarching deal, as well as proposals for Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy to own LIV Golf teams and compete in the series.

As the PIF gets ready to reportedly launch a sports-focused investment entity, Tuesday’s findings showed that Saudi Arabia proposed a global golf investment fund managed by the PIF during discussions with the PGA Tour.

Back To The Future

Since the bombshell agreement was announced, it has been known that PGA Tour policy board member Jimmy Dunne began meeting with Al-Rumayyan in April. But documents revealed on Tuesday showed that Dunne was initially approached by a PIF representative on Dec. 8, 2022. 

Dunne rebuffed that initial outreach before exploring further in April. The documents also revealed that McIlroy met with Al-Rumayyan in Dubai in November 2022. McIlroy was not representing the PGA Tour and spoke only for himself.

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