Senators request Monahan, Al-Rumayyan and Norman to attend July 11 hearing
Lawmakers have escalated their interest in the “framework” agreement between the PGA Tour and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia with Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) scheduling a hearing on July 11 to review the deal.
Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan and LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman have been requested to attend the hearing.
“To assist the subcommittee’s review, please be prepared to discuss the circumstances and terms of the planned agreement between PGA Tour and the PIF, how any new entities formed through the planned agreement will be structured, the expected impact on PGA Tour and LIV Golf players, and the anticipated role of the PIF in U.S. professional golf,” the letter to Monahan read.
The agreement ended the ongoing legal battle between the Tour and the PIF, which owns 93 percent of LIV Golf, and will create an entity that will include the for-profit assets of the Tour, LIV Golf and the DP World Tour. Al-Rumayyan will be chairman of the entity, tentatively dubbed NewCo internally, and Monahan will serve as CEO.
“We look forward to appearing before the Senate subcommittee to answer their questions about the framework agreement we believe keeps the PGA Tour as the leader of professional golf’s future and benefits our players, our fans, and our sport. Already, the first phase of this framework has resulted in the end of costly litigation with LIV Golf,” a Tour statement read. “As we enter the next phase, we look forward to continuing the productive conversations we had last night with our players, listening to their feedback, and working toward negotiating a final agreement that is in their best interest and ensures that the Tour leads any new venture.
“Any agreement coming out of these negotiations will have to be approved by the full board of the PGA Tour, including our player directors.”
Monahan, who is recovering from a “medical situation,” did not attend a player meeting held Tuesday at the Travelers Championship and it’s unknown if he will be healthy enough to attend the hearing in Washington, D.C.
According to Jodi S. Balsam, a professor of clinical law at Brooklyn Law School, the request from Blumenthal and Johnson is not legally binding like a subpoena “but the optics strongly recommend that he does [attend].” The Tour could also negotiate the time and place for Monahan to testify to accommodate his medical situation.
“Our goal is to uncover the facts about what went into the PGA Tour’s deal with the Saudi Public Investment Fund and what the Saudi takeover means for the future of this cherished American institution and our national interest,” said Blumenthal, the chairman of the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. “Americans deserve to know what the structure and governance of this new entity will be. Major actors in the deal are best positioned to provide this information, and they owe Congress – and the American people – answers in a public setting.”
The Justice Department expanded an ongoing review of the Tour and possible antitrust concerns following the announcement of the “framework” agreement.
Full letter below: