Greg Norman lobbies for LIV Golf throughout Congressional go to, will get combined opinions

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 combined opinions from politicians.

Rep. Tim Burchett of Tennessee instructed 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 Publish columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a US citizen.

“It is propaganda,” Burchett stated of Norman’s assembly. “I do not need to hear about that. It is not Congress’ enterprise to settle a combat between a bunch of billionaires over a recreation of golf. They should take it to the courts. Congress made an enormous 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 instructed reporters after the lunch assembly that he wished lawmakers to have “each side of the story for them to grasp what LIV is all about,” in line with 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 instructed reporters after the lunch assembly.

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

Roy stated he questioned Norman about why LIV Golf and its staff aren’t registered as overseas brokers with the federal authorities. Norman instructed reporters that LIV Golf is a business 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 actually simply did not need to speak about Saudi Arabia,” Roy stated. “That is the trustworthy fact. I believe it was pitched as one thing to come back in there and sort of clarify that and speak about it, however I felt it was very clear they did not need to speak about it. Former President Trump, who by the best way is financially fascinated about LIV, has stated this can be 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, by which Norman spoke for about 20 minutes. Different lawmakers questioned Norman in regards to the impression it might 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 occurring 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 isn’t 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 at all times 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 generally known as the dominion of Saudi Arabia.”

The US 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 in opposition to the PGA Tour for suspending members for enjoying in LIV Golf occasions, and for allegedly urgent 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 instructed the lawmakers that he was keen 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 lately met with PGA Tour management.

“I am very inspired that Mr. Norman provided 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 planet. I imagine the nation would profit from listening to extra about his perspective from him.”

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

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