LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman went to Capitol Hill seeking support for the Saudi-backed startup from the Republican Study Committee, but his pitch hasn’t been well-received by all members of the GOP.
“LIV Golf is coming to the Hill this week to meet with lawmakers from both parties,” LIV Golf told Golfweek ahead of Norman’s lunch with RSC members. “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 reports from the meeting, Norman failed to achieve LIV’s goal with notable GOP Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) blasting the Hall-of-Famer’s lobbying as “propaganda.” Burchett implored the RSC not to waste its time on “billionaire oil guys” and a golf league funded by Saudi Arabia, later citing their complicity in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
— Tim Burchett (@timburchett) September 21, 2022
Another report from the meeting quotes Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) as having slammed Norman’s pitch, saying, “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.”
Rep. Chip Roy pressed LIV Golf’s Greg Norman on Saudi ties, foreign agent registration issues in RSC meeting. Told 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”
— Emily Brooks (@emilybrooksnews) September 21, 2022
The Department of Justice is currently looking into LIV’s claim that the PGA Tour violated antitrust laws. Those allegations prompted Norman’s meeting with the RSC in hopes of swaying its members from their belief that LIV serves as a tool to sportswash Saudi Arabia’s human rights violations. Although LIV has flaunted its deep pockets by poaching stars from the PGA Tour, the startup league has also struggled to escape its financial backing from Saudi Arabia.