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Two PGA tour officials to testify to US Senate panel about merger with Saudi-backed LIV

2023-07-03T15:40:17Z

Two PGA Tour officials have agreed to testify before a U.S. Senate panel next week about the tour’s merger with Saudi-backed LIV Golf, but LIV officials declined to appear, lawmakers said on Monday.

Ron Price, chief operating officer of the PGA Tour, and board member Jimmy Dunne have agreed to testify before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations on July 11, said Senator Richard Blumenthal, chair of the committee, and Ron Johnson, the top Republican, in a news release.

The PGA Tour, DP World Tour and rival Saudi-backed LIV circuit, which had been involved in a bitter fight that split the sport, announced an agreement in early June to merge and form a unified commercial entity.

The LIV Golf series is bankrolled by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIV). Critics have accused it of being a vehicle for the country to improve its reputation as it faces criticism of its human rights record.

Blumenthal last month asked the PGA Tour and LIV Golf for communications and records on their planned merger as part of an investigation, citing concerns about the Saudi government’s role in the deal and risks posed by a foreign government entity assuming control over the sport.

Blumenthal and Johnson said they had asked Greg Norman, CEO of LIV Golf, and Yasir al-Rumayyan, governor of the Saudi Public Investment Fund which backs LIV, to testify, but they had declined because of scheduling conflicts.

“Both Governor al-Rumayyan and Mr. Norman have valuable information to share about the operations of the Public Investment Fund, the future of LIV Golf, and Saudi Arabia’s plans to invest in golf and other sports,” the senators said in their statement. “Consistent with our subcommittee’s practice, we look forward to working with both witnesses to find a mutually agreeable date for them to appear in the very near future.”

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May 25, 2023; Washington, DC, USA; Patrick Reed hits his tee shot on the ninth hole during the Pro-Am tournament as part of the LIV Golf Washington D.C. 2023 event at Trump National Golf Club outside Washington DC. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

Players move to the next hole during the Canadian Open’s Championship Pro-Am after news was released of a new partnership between the PGA Tour and Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit, at Oakdale Golf and Country Club in Toronto, Ontario, Canada June 7, 2023. REUTERS/Nick Lachance/File Photo
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