Greg Norman lobbies for LIV Golf throughout Congressional go to, will get blended evaluations



LIV Golf CEO and commissioner Greg Norman met with federal lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Wednesday to foyer on behalf of the brand new circuit being financed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Funding Fund, and his message was met with blended evaluations from politicians.

Rep. Tim Burchett of Tennessee informed ESPN that he walked out of Norman’s lunch assembly with the Republican Research Committee and described his lobbying efforts as “propaganda.” He additionally took to Twitter to question Saudi Arabia’s connections to the 9/11 assaults and its position within the homicide of Washington Put up columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S. citizen.

“It is propaganda,” Burchett stated of Norman’s assembly. “I do not need to hear about that. It isn’t Congress’ enterprise to settle a battle between a bunch of billionaires over a recreation of golf. They should take it to the courts. Congress made a giant mistake by getting concerned in Main League Baseball. Right here we’re coping with a [league] being funded by some Saudis. I simply thought our priorities have been out of whack.”

Norman informed reporters after the lunch assembly that he wished lawmakers to have “either side of the story for them to grasp what LIV is all about,” in response to a report from The Hill.

“Do not are available in right here and act such as you’re doing a little great point, when you’re pimping a billion {dollars} of Saudi Arabian cash,” Rep. Chip Roy of Texas informed reporters after the lunch assembly.

“I respect Greg and his [right] to exit and do no matter he needs to do,” Roy informed ESPN on Wednesday. “Nevertheless it’s not so simple as he tries to make it out to be. He says they simply need competitors, and it is like there are hummingbirds and butterflies flying round in all places. The large, dangerous PGA Tour and its monopoly are stopping them from having their superior little competitors. It is a lot, rather more complicated than that.”

Roy stated he questioned Norman about why LIV Golf and its staff aren’t registered as international brokers with the federal authorities. Norman informed reporters that LIV Golf is a industrial operation, “so we’re right here simply to develop the sport of golf.”

Roy stated Norman tried to keep away from speaking about LIV Golf’s connections to Saudi Arabia.

“They truthfully simply did not need to discuss Saudi Arabia,” Roy stated. “That is the sincere reality. I believe it was pitched as one thing to come back in there and sort of clarify that and discuss it, however I felt it was very clear they did not need to discuss it. Former President Trump, who by the way in which is financially fascinated by LIV, has stated it is a billion {dollars} of publicity for the dominion of Saudi Arabia. They’re simply sort of dismissing it.”

Roy stated about 75 members of Congress attended the assembly, through which Norman spoke for about 20 minutes. Different lawmakers questioned Norman in regards to the affect it could have on the PGA Tour and its charity work, whereas others had “some curiosity in whether or not there was some form of competitors query and is there any interference happening or is the PGA Tour blocking competitors.”

“This is not about pure competitors,” Roy stated. “Do not are available in right here and attempt to promote me one thing that’s not what you are really promoting. You are promoting one thing that could be very a lot in mattress with the Saudis, so the Saudis can accomplish their goal and Greg can accomplish his. He is all the time wished to have a rival operation to tackle the tour, and he is been unable to do it till he bought a billion-dollar sugar daddy often known as the dominion of Saudi Arabia.”

The U.S. Division of Justice has opened an investigation into whether or not the PGA Tour is illegally attempting to squash competitors. The PGA Tour has denied the allegations.

LIV Golf and a handful of its gamers have additionally filed a federal antitrust lawsuit towards the PGA Tour for suspending members for taking part in in LIV Golf occasions, and for allegedly pressuring distributors, broadcast networks, brokers and others to not work with the brand new league.

The Washington Examiner reported Wednesday that Norman additionally met with senior Republicans on the Home Judiciary Committee, together with Jim Jordan of Ohio and Matt Gaetz of Florida, and informed the lawmakers that he was prepared to testify in entrance of Congress to debate antitrust points.

ESPN confirmed on Wednesday that Norman additionally met with Home Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, a Democrat from South Carolina, and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Clyburn’s spokesperson stated the lawmaker had additionally just lately met with PGA Tour management.

“I am very inspired that Mr. Norman supplied to provide testimony to the Home Judiciary Committee throughout my dialogue with him in the present day,” Gaetz stated in a press release to ESPN. “He has a wealth of information concerning the position of golf in tradition and on the earth. I consider the nation would profit from listening to extra about his perspective.”

ESPN senior writers Michael Fletcher and Mark Fainaru-Wada contributed to this report.

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