PGA Tour officials to testify on LIV Golf merger at July 11 Senate hearing

A PGA Tour sign during round two of the Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston on 2 September 2017 in Norton, Massachusetts. (Photo: Andrew Redington / Getty Images)

PGA Tour Chief Operating Officer Ron Price and board member Jimmy Dunne are set to testify on July 11 before a US Senate panel about the circuit’s surprise merger with Saudi-owned LIV Golf.

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”.


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  • This “Deal” sketches the sickening fact that he has the deepest wallet wins approach – ethics set aside or falls on deaf ears. Golf has always been a big money game for many decades. This deal however take the cake. Saudi Arabia is near a haven of democracy; nor a haven for protection of individual rights. We saw this clearly illustrated in the World Cup Soccer held in Qatar – an emirate which still upholds draconian male guardianship laws on its statutes; restricts freedoms enjoyed in the west by default; and strip searches foreign women while travelling. Placing rewards of great wealth over clear moral and ethical questions does not only reflect the moral bankruptcy of those who wish to partake in sport in such countries but the moral bankruptcy of the controlling bodies of the sport.

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