Greg Norman, the caput of the arguable Saudi-backed LIV Golf tour, faced immoderate blimpish disapproval connected Tuesday aft helium met with a radical of House Republicans down closed doors connected Capitol Hill.
Norman, connected a travel to Washington arsenic portion of a public-relations propulsion to merchantability lawmakers astir the benefits of the PGA tour’s caller rival, was besides questioned during the Republican Study Committee gathering astir his league’s Saudi financing.
LIV Golf is backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) – a sovereign wealthiness money chaired by Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia – and has pledged to grant $250 cardinal successful full prize money.
Rep. Chip Roy, a Texas Republican, suggested that helium didn’t mince words with Norman, who told the Republican that the extremity of his circuit is “competition” – an assertion that Roy thought was “nonsense,” though helium said he’d beryllium blessed to beryllium down and speech with Norman astir it further.
“Don’t merchantability us, ‘This is conscionable astir competition’ erstwhile they won’t reply astir a cardinal dollars to bargain disconnected PGA players resulting successful a cardinal dollars of PR for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Roy told CNN, saying they could beryllium successful usurpation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
LIV Golf has spent eye-popping sums to poach apical PGA circuit players, reportedly offering 9 figures for individuals conscionable to motion with the caller league and tremendous purses for the winners of its tournaments. In aboriginal August, Norman confirmed connected Fox News that play fable Tiger Woods turned down an connection worthy astir $700-$800 cardinal to articulation LIV Golf.
Rep. Jim Banks, the president of the Republican Study Committee, told CNN that it was “lively discussion” and that wide Norman was “well received by our members.”
The Indiana Republican noted that Norman asked to conscionable with his group, which has regular meetings with extracurricular guests.
“Some members addressed the Saudi-backed funding. That came up successful the discussion, and Mr. Norman addressed those issues,” Banks said. “He explained however the concern money is acceptable up and different investments that they’ve made successful the United States. He promised to beryllium down with members individually.”
Banks said “there was nary ask” by Norman for Congress to enactment connected the league’s behalf and that the intent of the gathering was much “public relations” than thing else.
Banks added: “If Tiger Woods wants to travel successful and speech astir the PGA and his issues with LIV Golf, we’d emotion to person him travel too.”
LIV Golf players person not been granted support to play successful this week’s Presidents Cup, a biennial contention pitting an International Team and a US Team against each other, which tees disconnected connected Thursday.
For International skipper Trevor Immelman, that proved a enactment headache with players similar Open champion Cameron Smith, Chile’s Joaquin Niemann and South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen barred from playing.
“I would accidental hugely disruptive is astir apt an understatement,” Immelman told CNN Sport’s Don Riddell. “It definite has been an absorbing process.”
But opposing skipper Davis Love III arguably has much extent astatine his disposal than Immelman, who lamented the lack of immoderate “incredible players” from the team.
The International Team has an unfavorable grounds successful the Presidents Cup having won conscionable erstwhile successful 13 editions of the competition.
“Over the past twelvemonth oregon so, arsenic these fractures (between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour) were starting to occur, each azygous subordinate connected our squad knew precisely what the rules were and knew what decisions they needed to marque successful bid to person the accidental to play successful the Presidents Cup,” helium added.
Asked if helium would miss the likes of Smith, Niemann and Oosthuizen, Immelman said: “Those guys are unthinkable players. They’re players that person played Presidents Cups. They person the acquisition of being successful that cauldron, knowing what it takes. But, you know, similar I said, they knew the decisions that they needed to marque successful bid to beryllium eligible for the Presidents Cup.
“All of that accusation was portion of their decision-making process. So the connection was precise open. Everybody knew precisely wherever they stood and they made the decisions that they thought were champion for them, and I respect their decisions.”
This year’s Presidents Cup is being held astatine Quail Hollow successful Charlotte, North Carolina, and concludes connected Sunday.