Democrat Richard Blumenthal, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Investigations, and the panel’s top Republican, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, announced the witnesses for the hearing — titled “The PGA-LIV Deal: Implications for the Future of Golf and Saudi Arabia’s Influence in the United States” — on Monday.
The senators have said fans, players and legislators have concerns about the PGA Tour’s deal with the Saudi Public Investment Fund.
“We appreciate the PGA Tour working with us and look forward to a robust, thoughtful exchange with both Ron Price and Jimmy Dunne on July 11, focusing on the details and background of this deal and what it means for this cherished American institution,” Blumenthal and Johnson said in their joint statement.
Bloomberg News reported in June that Dunne, who is also vice-chairman of investment bank Piper Sandler, was involved in helping broker the deal.
The senators also sought testimony from LIV Golf Chief Executive Officer Greg Norman and Yasir al-Rumayyan, who, as governor of the Public Investment Fund, will oversee Saudi Arabia’s investments in the new entity and serve as chairman of its board, but they indicated they are unable to testify because of scheduling conflicts. Blumenthal and Johnson said they will work with them “to find a mutually agreeable date for them to appear in the very near future”.
Legislators have demanded investigations into the deal, citing potential antitrust concerns as well as accusations of human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia. Others have echoed the families of the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks, who have long said Saudi Arabia has failed to fully answer questions on any role it may have played. Fifteen of the 19 attackers were Saudis.
Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden of Oregon has questioned whether the merger would give the Saudis unfair access to US real estate.
Blumenthal said last month on Bloomberg Television that the Justice Department should investigate the “absolutely abhorrent” deal.
Johnson, a self-described avid golf watcher, has said he had mixed feelings about the deal but that Congress also “should just stay the hell out of sports”.