LIV Golf: Golf legend Greg Norman pressed behind closed doors in GOP’s “lively” discussion of Saudi-backed LIV tour

Norman, while on a trip to Washington as part of a PR push to sell lawmakers the benefits of the new PGA tour rival, was also questioned at the Republican Study Committee meeting on his league’s Saudi funding.

LIV Golf is supported by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) – a sovereign fund chaired by Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia – and has pledged to award $ 250 million in total cash prizes.

Representative. Chip Roy, a Republican from Texas, suggested not mincing words with Norman, who told the Republican that the goal of his tour is “competition” – a statement Roy thought was “nonsense”, although he said he would be happy to sit down and talk further with Norman.

“Don’t sell us, ‘It’s all about competition’ when they don’t answer about $ 1 billion to buy PGA players resulting in $ 1 billion in PR for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Roy told CNN, saying he could. violate the foreign agent registration law.

LIV Golf has spent mind-blowing sums to hunt down the best players on the PGA Tour, offering nine figures for people just to sign up with the new league and huge bags for its tournament winners. In early August, Norman confirmed on Fox News that golf legend Tiger Woods turned down an offer worth approximately $ 700- $ 800 million to join LIV Golf.

Representative. Jim Banks, the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, told CNN that it was “a lively discussion” and that overall Norman was “well received by our members.”

The Indiana Republican noted that Norman has requested to meet with his group, who have regular meetings with outside guests.

“Some members addressed Saudi-backed funding. This came up during the discussion and Mr. Norman addressed those issues,” Banks said. “He explained how the investment fund is set up and other investments they made in the US. He promised to meet the members individually.”

Banks said there was “no request” from Norman for Congress to act on behalf of the league and that the purpose of the meeting was more “public relations” than anything else.

Banks added, “If Tiger Woods wants to come in and talk about the PGA and its issues with LIV Golf, we’d love for him to come too.”

‘Extremely Disruptive’

LIV Golf players have not been granted permission to play in this week’s Presidents Cup, a two-year competition between an international team and a US team, which kicks off on Thursday.

For national team captain Trevor Immelman, this proved to be a selection headache with players like Open champion Cameron Smith, Chilean Joaquin Niemann and South African Louis Oosthuizen unable to play.

“I would say extremely disruptive is probably an understatement,” Immelman told CNN Sport’s Don Riddell. “It was certainly an interesting process.”

The US team has been exposed to the same problem with Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau all unavailable having moved on to the LIV Golf series.

But opposing captain Davis Love III arguably has more depth at his disposal than Immelman, who lamented the absence of some “incredible players” from the squad.

The International Team has an unfavorable record in the Presidents Cup having won only once in 13 editions of the competition.

“In the last year or so, as these rifts (between LIV Golf and PGA Tour) were starting to occur, every single player on our team knew exactly what the rules were and knew what decisions they had to make in order to have the opportunity to play in the Presidents Cup. “, he added.

Asked if he would miss the likes of Smith, Niemann and Oosthuizen, Immelman said, “Those guys are amazing players. They are players who have played the Presidents Cup. They have the experience of being in that cauldron, understanding what it takes. But, you know, like I said, they knew the decisions they had to make to be eligible for the Presidents Cup.

“All this information was part of their decision making. So communication was very open. Everyone knew exactly where they were and made the decisions they felt were best for them, and I respect their decisions.”

This year’s Presidents Cup will be held at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina and will conclude on Sunday.

CNN’s Don Riddell and Jack Bantock contributed to the report.

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