Greg Norman Upbeat After Meeting With US Politicians

The LIV CEO welcomed the opportunity to discuss the situation between his operation and the PGA Tour

Greg Norman met with politicians to discuss LIV Golf and the PGA Tour
(Image credit: @SharkGregNorman)

Greg Norman has thanked Republican House members after meeting them to discuss the ongoing battle with the PGA Tour, though the LIV Golf chief was given a frosty reception by some.

The LIV Golf CEO met with the Republican Study Committee to share his concerns about what he feels are anti-competitive tactics used by the PGA Tour towards the Saudi-backed series, telling reporters afterwards he welcomed the opportunity to give “both sides of the story for them to understand what LIV is all about”.

The PGA Tour has suspended all LIV players from its events indefinitely, meaning the likes of Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Cameron Smith can no longer play there. The new PGA Tour season started last week with the Fortinet Championship, while five of the eight LIV Golf Invitationals have been played this year, ahead of the first full league season in 2023.

In a letter to  PGA Tour members in August, commissioner Jay Monahan addressed the court action taken by a group of LIV Golf players seeking to set aside their suspensions. In it, Monahan said the players knew they would be ineligible to play PGA Tour events if they decided to join LIV, accusing them of "trying to use lawyers to force their way into competition alongside our members in good standing". He added that allowing them to rejoin the PGA Tour would  be "to the detriment of our organization, our players, our partners and our fans". He told members: "This is your Tour, built on the foundation that we work together for the good and growth of the organization....and then you reap the rewards." 

Norman took to Twitter to thank the politicians for their time and stress his belief that competition is vital, but it seems not all present shared the LIV chief’s vision.

According to political website The Hill, Rep. Tim Burchett walked out before the end of the meeting, saying it was all “basically propaganda,” while dismissing Norman’s anti-competitive accusations.

He said: “A bunch of rich guys [are] not gonna play golf somewhere - it doesn’t bother me one bit. Federal government needs to stay out of that and just let these country clubbers handle their own game. It shouldn’t be taking up our time. [We’re a] conservative organisation, and we ought to be dealing with what we’ve got to deal with in our country, not with - worried about a bunch of Saudis, a bunch of billionaire oil people, are dealing with.”

Inside the meeting, Norman was quizzed by Rep. Chip Roy over LIV’s link with Saudi Arabia according to The Hill, and asked why it is not registered as a foreign agent. Norman said afterwards that it was “great to have an open debate” with Roy and dismissed his concerns, saying: “We’re a commercial operation. So we’re here just to grow the game of golf.”

Roy was less upbeat after the meeting, telling reporters: “Don’t come in here and act like you’re doing some great thing while you’re pimping a billion dollars of Saudi Arabian money and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the United States,” adding that the Great White Shark’s appearance in front of the politicians is “PR for Saudi Arabia - it’s PR for LIV Golf.”

Norman was staying positive as he left the meeting, saying: “Not one person since I’ve been CEO has told me this is a bad idea.”

Jeff Kimber
Freelance Staff Writer

Jeff graduated from Leeds University in Business Studies and Media in 1996 and did a post grad in journalism at Sheffield College in 1997. His first jobs were on Slam Dunk (basketball) and Football Monthly magazines, and he's worked for the Sunday Times, Press Association and ESPN. He has faced golfing greats Sam Torrance and Sergio Garcia, but on the poker felt rather than the golf course. Jeff's favourite course played is Sandy Lane in Barbados, which went far better than when he played Matfen Hall in Northumberland, where he crashed the buggy on the way to the 1st tee!