Washington D.C. Lawmakers, LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman Scheduled To Meet To Discuss The League’s Ties To Saudi Arabia
According to Paulina Dedaj from Fox News, lawmakers in Washington D.C are expected to meet with LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman this week. The lawmakers will reportedly be discussing LIV Golf’s business ties to Saudi Arabia, which has been painted as controversial in the media. The group will also be discussing the PGA Tour’s suspension of several top players, which has been called “anti-competitive” behavior by some LIV golfers in a recent lawsuit.
Norman will be traveling to Washington D.C. to attempt to inform leaders on both sides about LIV Golf, which is being backed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund.
LIV Golf spokesperson Jonathan Grella issued a statement emphasizing the importance of educating members on the circuit’s business model considering that he believes that the PGA Tour is attempting to impede LIV’s growth.
“LIV Golf is coming to the Hill this week to meet with lawmakers from both parties. 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.”
According to Sports Illustrated, on September 6th, the LIV Golf players who are reportedly suing the PGA Tour were sent a letter from the organization. The letter informed them that the PGA Tour is extending its ban and memberships will not be renewed due to players not being able to perform their “material obligations” under their contracts.
“The Tour cannot enter into a membership agreement with a player when, as here, it reasonably anticipates the player will not perform the material obligations under that agreement. Accordingly, your PGA Tour membership cannot and will not be renewed for the 2022-2023 PGA Tour season.”
Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones are among the nine current players who filed an antitrust lawsuit against PGA Tour to be able to play in the FedEx Cup Playoffs but a judge denied their request. Phil Mickelson also joined in the suit, reportedly claiming that the suspensions issued from PGA Tour were done with the intent of harming careers.
LIV Golf alleged that it was forced by the PGA Tour to “raise its costs in order to be able to sign players and that it kept it from recruiting others over the threat of facing punishment.” The Tour claimed that LIV Golfers were banned because the players violated their PGA Tour contracts by going to the Saudi-backed league.
“Despite knowing full well that they would breach Tour regulations and be suspended for doing so, plaintiffs have joined competing golf league LIV Golf, which has paid them tens and hundreds of millions of dollars in guaranteed money supplied by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund to procure their breaches,” the motion said. “[Temporary restraining order] plaintiffs now run into court seeking a mandatory injunction to force their way into the Tour’s season-ending FedEx Cup Playoffs, an action that would harm all Tour members that follow the rules. The antitrust laws do not allow plaintiffs to have their cake and eat it too.”
The PGA Tour drew a hard line in the sand this summer after some of its members either resigned their memberships or agreed to play in LIV tournaments without release.
Commissioner Jay Monahan released a memo in June stating that those players would now be considered ineligible to play in Tour events, prompting 11 players to file the antitrust lawsuit claiming that the Tour’s indefinite suspensions were an attempt to hurt their careers and put LIV out of business, an action they alleged violated antitrust laws.
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