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Greg Norman lobbies for LIV Golf throughout Congressional go to, will get combined opinions

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LIV Golf CEO and commissioner Greg Norman met with federal lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Wednesday to foyer on behalf of the brand new circuit being financed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Funding Fund, and his message was met with combined opinions from politicians.

US Consultant Tim Burchett of Tennessee informed ESPN that he walked out of Norman’s lunch assembly with the Republican Research Committee and described his lobbying efforts as “propaganda.” He additionally took to Twitter to question Saudi Arabia’s connections to the 9/11 assaults and its function within the homicide of Washington Submit columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a US citizen.

“It is propaganda,” Burchett mentioned of Norman’s assembly. “I do not wish to hear about that. It is not Congress’ enterprise to settle a combat between a bunch of billionaires over a recreation of golf. They should take it to the courts. Congress made a giant mistake by getting concerned in Main League Baseball. Right here we’re coping with a [league] being funded by some Saudis. I simply thought our priorities had been out of whack. “

Norman informed reporters after the lunch assembly that he wished lawmakers to have “either side of the story for them to grasp what LIV is all about,” in keeping with a report from The Hill.

“Do not are available right here and act such as you’re doing a little good thing, when you’re pimping a billion {dollars} of Saudi Arabian cash,” Rep. Chip Roy of Texas informed reporters after the lunch assembly.

“I respect Greg and his [right] to exit and do no matter he desires to do, “Roy informed ESPN on Wednesday.” But it surely’s not so simple as he tries to make it out to be. He says they only need competitors, and it is like there are hummingbirds and butterflies flying round in every single place. The massive, unhealthy PGA Tour and its monopoly are stopping them from having their superior little competitors. It is a lot, rather more complicated than that. “

Roy mentioned he questioned Norman about why LIV Golf and its staff aren’t registered as international brokers with the federal authorities. Norman informed reporters that LIV Golf is a industrial operation, “so we’re right here simply to develop the sport of golf.”

Roy mentioned Norman tried to keep away from speaking about LIV Golf’s connections to Saudi Arabia.

“They actually simply did not wish to discuss Saudi Arabia,” Roy mentioned. “That is the trustworthy reality. I feel it was pitched as one thing to return in there and type of clarify that and discuss it, however I felt it was very clear they did not wish to discuss it. Former President Trump, who by the best way is financially keen on LIV, has mentioned this can be a billion {dollars} of publicity for the dominion of Saudi Arabia. They’re simply type of dismissing it. “

Roy mentioned about 75 members of Congress attended the assembly, during which Norman spoke for about 20 minutes. Different lawmakers questioned Norman in regards to the impression it could have on the PGA Tour and its charity work, whereas others had “some curiosity in whether or not there was some kind of competitors query and is there any interference occurring or is the PGA Tour blocking competitors.”

“This is not about pure competitors,” Roy mentioned. “Do not are available right here and attempt to promote me one thing that isn’t what you are truly promoting. You are promoting one thing that may be very a lot in mattress with the Saudis, so the Saudis can accomplish their goal and Greg can accomplish his . He is at all times wished to have a rival operation to tackle the tour, and he is been unable to do it till he acquired a billion-dollar sugar daddy often called the dominion of Saudi Arabia. “

The US Division of Justice has opened an investigation into whether or not the PGA Tour is illegally making an attempt to squash competitors. The PGA Tour has denied the allegations.

LIV Golf and a handful of its gamers have additionally filed a federal antitrust lawsuit towards the PGA Tour for suspending members for enjoying in LIV Golf occasions, and for allegedly pressuring distributors, broadcast networks, brokers and others to not work with the brand new league.

The Washington Examiner reported Wednesday that Norman additionally met with senior Republicans on the Home Judiciary Committee, together with Jim Jordan of Ohio and Matt Gaetz of Florida, and informed the lawmakers that he was prepared to testify in entrance of Congress to debate antitrust points.

ESPN confirmed on Wednesday that Norman additionally met with Home Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, a Democrat from South Carolina, and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Clyburn’s spokesperson mentioned the lawmaker had additionally not too long ago met with PGA Tour management.

“I am very inspired that Mr. Norman provided to provide testimony to the Home Judiciary Committee throughout my dialogue with him as we speak,” Gaetz mentioned in a press release to ESPN. “He has a wealth of information concerning the function of golf in tradition and on this planet. I consider the nation would profit from listening to extra about his perspective of him.”

ESPN senior writers Michael Fletcher and Mark Fainaru-Wada contributed to this report.

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