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US Senator Richard Blumenthal has sent letters to Jay Monahan and Greg Norman requesting information regarding the shock merger that was announced between golf's traditional tours and the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia.
The PGA Tour had previously taken a hard stance against Saudi investment into golf prior to and after the launch of LIV Golf last June, before a surprise peace agreement was reached to merge the commercial assets of the PGA and DP World Tours with those of the PIF into a new, for-profit entity.
It was heralded as a "landmark agreement to unify men's professional golf" as it would create a pathway back to the PGA and DP World Tours for LIV players and bring an end to the ongoing litigation.
However, the deal's legality has already received scrutiny, and now Blumenthal, who chairs the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, has requested access to a wide range of documents from both parties dating back to October 2021.
In his letter to PGA Tour commissioner Monahan, he wrote: "While few details about the agreement are known, PIF’s role as an arm of the Saudi government and PGA Tour’s sudden and drastic reversal of position concerning LIV Golf raise serious questions regarding the reasons for and terms behind the announced agreement.
"PGA Tour’s agreement with PIF regarding LIV Golf raises concerns about the Saudi government’s role in influencing this effort and the risks posed by a foreign government entity assuming control over a cherished American institution.
"PIF has announced that it intends to use investments in sports to further the Saudi government’s strategic objectives. It established LIV Golf Investments in 2021 to serve this goal."
Among his list of demands, Blumenthal has asked for all communications between the PGA Tour, LIV Golf and the PIF during the period in question, whether related to the merger or not, as well as details of how the new entity will be structured and how the PGA Tour plans to maintain its tax-exempt status.
In the press release, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of the PIF, was named as the future chairman of the as yet unnamed entity, with Monahan as CEO and the board formed by a majority of PGA Tour figures.
This has raised questions as to the future of LIV Golf, with Jimmy Dunne, the independent director on the PGA Tour policy board who was reportedly instrumental in brokering the deal, insisting Monahan has the power to disband the Saudi-backed breakaway circuit should he wish.
If true, this would put Norman's position as LIV Golf CEO in jeopardy. The Australian was reportedly left out of negotiations over the merger, only finding out about it minutes before Al-Rumayyan and Monahan appeared on CNBC to discuss the news.
The same report claimed the Australian was "not expected" to be part of the new entity, although Norman insists LIV will continue into 2024 and beyond.
Norman received a similar letter to Monahan from Blumenthal. The pair have been given until June 26 to provide the documents and information requested.
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A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.
Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.
As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.
What's in Andy's bag?
Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)
3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus (15°)
Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)
Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)
Putter: TaylorMade Spider X
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
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