LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman is set to testify before the U.S. Congress about its Saudi ties.
- Later this week, LIV Golf commissioner and CEO Greg Norman will visit Capitol Hill to discuss the new league’s business plans and to address concerns about LIV’s Saudi Arabian ties with lawmakers.
- Norman, a two-time Open Championship winner, hopes to educate lawmakers about what the new circuit is doing to change professional golf and about the PGA Tour’s alleged efforts to prevent it from becoming a legitimate rival for the best golfers in the world, says ESPN writer Mark Schlabach.
- The league has been controversial in more ways than one by taking players from the PGA and its overseas ties, but Norman plans to address all of it in his trip to Washington.
Why it’s news
LIV is a well-financed startup tour competing with the PGA Tour, which sanctions the bulk of pro golf in the country for more than 100 years. LIV is backed by the Public Invest Fund, led by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The new tour was created to compete with the PGA and has pulled many big name golfers away from the famous tour with promises of hefty checks—creating tremendous tension in the world of golf.
Many people have voiced concerns about the league’s ties to Saudi Arabia, even federal lawmakers.
“LIV Golf is coming to the Hill this week to meet with lawmakers from both parties,” LIV spokesman Jonathan Grella told ESPN. “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.”
At first, LIV representatives said the league wanted to coexist with the PGA and settle a truce. Norman said he tried to talk with PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, but he is no longer interested in doing so.
“We have no interest in sitting down with them, to be honest with you, because our product is working,” Norman told The Australian in an interview last week.
Norman hopes this meeting with Congress will help lift concerns on the golf league and help it keep moving forward.
Backing up a bit
The LIV timeline is a big one.
The new LIV tour was created to compete with the PGA and has pulled many big name golfers away from the famous tour with promises of hefty checks—creating tremendous tension in the world of golf.
For example, LIV will pay Phil Mickelson $200 million to play in the tour, which is nearly double what legend Tiger Woods has earned in prize money during his entire career. LIV gave the world’s number-one golfer Dustin Johnson a four-year, $125 million contract, double his lifetime earnings of $74 million. Along with players, LIV has also been adding some big names to its broadcast team. In recent weeks popular golf commentator David Feherty joined the startup tour as a broadcast analyst and continues to add big names to its roster.