Greg Norman Visits Capitol Hill to Address Concerns over LIV Golf's Saudi Arabia Ties

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 19, 2022

SUGAR GROVE, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 18: Greg Norman, CEO and commissioner of LIV Golf, looks on from the second fairway during Day Three of the LIV Golf Invitational - Chicago at Rich Harvest Farms on September 18, 2022 in Sugar Grove, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/LIV Golf via Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/LIV Golf via Getty Images

LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman will meet with United States lawmakers on Capitol Hill this week to discuss the organization's ties to Saudi Arabia and other factors.

"LIV Golf is coming to the Hill this week to meet with lawmakers from both parties," LIV Golf spokesperson Jonathan Grella told ESPN's Mark Schlabach. "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 newly created organization is funded by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, which is controlled by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Norman will also discuss his encounters with the PGA Tour, which is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice's antitrust division for potential anticompetitive behavior, per Louise Radnofsky and Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal.

The PGA Tour has been aggressive in its fight against LIV Golf, suspending players who take part in the new league while revoking membership for some players in 2022-23.

Several players and LIV Golf have filed an antitrust suit against the PGA Tour.

LIV Golf has still been able land numerous big names over the past several months, including Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Cameron Smith and Brooks Koepka.

Norman will get a chance to justify his organization's business model, which could include a new television rights deal.

The Saudi ties are still a concern for some considering numerous accusations of human rights violations against Saudi Arabia. The 9/11 Families United group has protested against the newly formed league.

Mickelson notably cited these issues before joining LIV Golf.

"They're scary motherf--kers to get involved with,” he told Alan Shipnuck in February. "We know they killed [Washington Post reporter and U.S. resident Jamal] Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights. They execute people over there for being gay. Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates."

The comments were enough for several players to back out after previously committing to LIV Golf, Norman said.