LIV Golf: Golf legend Greg Norman pressed behind closed doorways in ‘energetic’ GOP dialogue about Saudi-backed LIV tour

Norman, on a visit to Washington as a part of a public-relations push to promote lawmakers about the advantages of the PGA tour’s new rival, was additionally questioned throughout the Republican Research Committee assembly about his league’s Saudi financing.

LIV Golf is backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Funding Fund (PIF) — a sovereign wealth fund chaired by Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia — and has pledged to award $250 million in whole prize cash.

Rep. Chip Roy, a Texas Republican, steered that he did not mince phrases with Norman, who instructed the Republican that the aim of his tour is “competitors” — an assertion that Roy thought was “nonsense,” although he stated he’d be joyful to take a seat down and speak with Norman about it additional.

“Do not promote us, ‘That is nearly competitors’ after they will not reply a couple of billion {dollars} to purchase off PGA gamers leading to a billion {dollars} of PR for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Roy instructed CNN, saying they may very well be in violation of the International Brokers Registration Act.

LIV Golf has spent eye-popping sums to poach prime PGA tour gamers, reportedly providing 9 figures for people simply to signal with the brand new league and large purses for the winners of its tournaments. In early August, Norman confirmed on Fox Information that golf legend Tiger Woods turned down a suggestion value roughly $700-$800 million to hitch LIV Golf.

Rep. Jim Banks, the chairman of the Republican Research Committee, instructed CNN that it was “energetic dialogue” and that general Norman was “effectively obtained by our members.”

The Indiana Republican famous that Norman requested to fulfill along with his group, which has common conferences with exterior company.

“Some members addressed the Saudi-backed funding. That got here up within the dialogue, and Mr. Norman addressed these points,” Banks stated. “He defined how the funding fund is about up and different investments that they’ve made in the USA. He promised to take a seat down with members individually.”

Banks stated “there was no ask” by Norman for Congress to behave on the league’s behalf and that the aim of the assembly was extra “public relations” than anything.

Banks added: “If Tiger Woods needs to return in and speak concerning the PGA and his points with LIV Golf, we might like to have him come too.”

‘Massively disruptive’

LIV Golf gamers haven’t been granted permission to play on this week’s Presidents Cup, a biennial competitors pitting an Worldwide Group and a US Group in opposition to one another, which tees off on Thursday.

For Worldwide captain Trevor Immelman, that proved a variety headache with gamers like Open champion Cameron Smith, Chile’s Joaquin Niemann and South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen barred from taking part in.

“I’d say vastly disruptive might be an understatement,” Immelman instructed CNN Sport’s Don Riddell. “It positive has been an fascinating course of.”

Players practice on the driving range ahead of the LIV Golf event in St. Albans, England, in June.
The US Group has been uncovered to the identical drawback with Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau all unavailable having switched to the LIV Golf sequence.

However opposing captain Davis Love III arguably has extra depth at his disposal than Immelman, who lamented the absence of some “unbelievable gamers” from the crew.

The Worldwide Group has an unfavorable file within the Presidents Cup having gained simply as soon as in 13 editions of the competitors.

“Over the past 12 months or so, as these fractures (between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour) had been beginning to happen, each single participant on our squad knew precisely what the foundations had been and knew what choices they wanted to make so as to have the chance to play within the Presidents Cup,” he added.

Requested if he would miss the likes of Smith, Niemann and Oosthuizen, Immelman stated: “These guys are unbelievable gamers. They’re gamers which have performed Presidents Cups. They’ve the expertise of being in that cauldron, understanding what it takes. However, you realize, like I stated, they knew the choices that they wanted to make so as to be eligible for the Presidents Cup.

“All of that info was a part of their decision-making course of. So the communication was very open. Everyone knew precisely the place they stood they usually made the choices that they thought had been finest for them, and I respect their choices.”

This 12 months’s Presidents Cup is being held at Quail Hole in Charlotte, North Carolina, and concludes on Sunday.

CNN’s Don Riddell and Jack Bantock contributed to reporting.

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