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LIV Golf CEO and commissioner Greg Norman is expected to meet with lawmakers in Washington, D.C., this week to discuss the circuit’s controversial business ties to Saudi Arabia and the “anti-competitive efforts” taken by the PGA Tour, which has seen several of the sports top players be suspended, reports say.
The 20-time PGA Tour winner will travel to D.C. in an effort to “educate” leaders on both sides about the circuit, which is backed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, and to discuss the ongoing battle with the Tour, Politico first reported Monday.
“LIV Golf is coming to the Hill this week to meet with lawmakers from both parties,” LIV Golf spokesperson Jonathan Grella said in a statement to the outlet. “Given the PGA Tour’s attempts 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 anti-competitive efforts.”
The meeting comes just a month after Politico reported that LIV Golf hired lobbying firm Hobart Hallaway & Quayle Ventures.
The PGA Tour drew a hard line in the sand this summer after some of its members either resigned their memberships or agreed to play in LIV tournaments without release.
Commissioner Jay Monahan released a memo in June stating that those players would now be considered ineligible to play in Tour events, prompting 11 players to file an antitrust lawsuit claiming that the Tour’s indefinite suspensions were aimed at hurting their careers.
Four players have since dropped from the lawsuit and in their absence, LIV Golf has joined. Phil Mickelson, one of the players to initially file the lawsuit, said last week that he might consider withdrawing as a result of LIV’s involvement.
“I haven’t done anything yet, but now that LIV is involved, it’s not necessary for me to be a part of it,” he said of LIV Golf’s Chicago invitational. “I currently still am. I don’t know what I’m really going to do. The only reason for me to stay in it is damages, which I don’t really want or need anything.”
The Justice Department launched an investigation into the PGA Tour’s handling of the situation back in July to determine if it committed antitrust violations.
“Since LIV’s come on board, the PGA Tour has stepped up. They would never have done that without competition. Competition’s the best thing in any sport,” Norman said last week.
“We’ve created this new atmosphere, this new energy, and the PGA Tour had to react. That tells us, me, LIV is the leader. LIV is the future of golf. As long as we keep maintaining our position and keep building and building and building, the Tour is going to have to keep reacting and reacting and reacting.”