LIV Golf CEO and Commissioner Greg Norman met with lawmakers in Washington Wednesday in what he called a “very informative” meeting during which he addressed members of Congress about the tour’s recent investments and the PGA Tour’s anti-competitive efforts aimed at targeting former members who have since joined the rival Saudi-backed circuit.
The 20-time PGA Tour winner lauded LIV Golf’s success in a meeting with the Republican Study Committee and credited its growth to the quality product it offers, adding, “We never intended to destroy another tour,” a source with knowledge of the meeting told FOX Business.
Norman also praised the importance of competition, calling it the “bedrock of America,” and said the circuit has invested $300 million in the Asian Tour and is now exploring the possibility of a women’s tour, the source added.
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Ahead of last week’s event in Chicago, Norman made similar comments about the benefits of competition and seemingly took credit for the PGA Tour’s recent changes.
“Since LIV’s come on board, the PGA Tour has stepped up. They would never have done that without competition. Competition’s the best thing in any sport,” he said at the time.
A source also told FOX Business that Norman claimed his players have been threatened with lifetime bans from the PGA Tour and that the tour has threatened to pull PGA Tour press credentials from reporters if they give LIV favorable coverage. It will also reportedly blacklist vendors that serve LIV events, according to the source.
The PGA Tour declined to comment on those claims.
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After exiting his meeting with Republican lawmakers, Norman declined to say if he believed the PGA Tour was playing dirty over its suspensions of LIV Golf players, telling FOX Business, “You’ll have to ask the PGA Tour.
“We’re here [for the good of] the game of golf. We’re giving the players another platform as independent contractors to play.”
The PGA Tour drew a hard line in the sand this summer after some of its members either resigned their memberships or agreed to play in LIV tournaments without release.
Commissioner Jay Monahan released a memo in June stating that those players would now be considered ineligible to play in PGA Tour events, prompting 11 players to file an antitrust lawsuit claiming that the tour’s indefinite suspensions were aimed at hurting their careers.
Four players have since dropped from the lawsuit and, in their absence, LIV Golf has joined.
The Justice Department launched an investigation into the PGA Tour’s handling of the situation in July to determine if it committed antitrust violations.
When asked if he’s faced any criticism from lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Norman told FOX Business, “No. Actually not one person since I’ve been CEO has told me this is a bad idea.”
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