Two officials from the PGA Tour, Ron Price and Jimmy Dunne, have confirmed their participation as witnesses before the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations regarding the merger with Saudi-backed LIV Golf. However, LIV Golf representatives have declined to appear, according to lawmakers on Monday.
PGA Tour Officials Agree to Testify Before U.S. Senate
Senator Richard Blumenthal, the chair of the committee, and Ron Johnson, the top Republican, announced in a news release that Ron Price, the chief operating officer of the PGA Tour, and board member Jimmy Dunne will testify before the Senate panel on July 11. The hearing aims to shed light on the merger between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, a move that created a unified commercial entity, in conjunction with the DP World Tour.
The agreement to merge the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, and LIV Golf was announced in early June. The merger marked a significant development in the sport, ending a bitter dispute that had caused a rift within golf. The newly formed unified entity is expected to shape the future of professional golf.
LIV Golf, which is supported by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF), has faced criticism from skeptics who argue that it serves as a means for the country to enhance its reputation amid scrutiny of its human rights record.
Senator Blumenthal initiated an investigation into the planned merger last month, requesting communication and records from both the PGA Tour and LIV Golf. His concerns centered around the involvement of the Saudi government in the deal and the potential risks of foreign government control over the sport.
In addition to Ron Price and Jimmy Dunne, Senator Blumenthal and Senator Johnson invited Greg Norman, the CEO of LIV Golf, and Yasir al-Rumayyan, the governor of the Saudi Public Investment Fund, to testify. However, Norman and al-Rumayyan declined the invitation, citing scheduling conflicts.
In response, the senators expressed their disappointment, acknowledging that both witnesses possess valuable information about the operations of the Public Investment Fund, the future of LIV Golf, and Saudi Arabia’s plans for investment in golf and other sports. They reiterated their commitment to work with Norman and al-Rumayyan to find an alternative date for their testimony in the near future, in accordance with the subcommittee’s practice.