Senate Subcommittee Head Launches Probe Into LIV Golf-PGA Tour Merger

Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal has "serious questions" about the deal

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal waves to a crowd.
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal wants PGA and LIV to open the books.
Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire via Getty

Last week’s mega-merger between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf and its deep-pocketed backer (Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund) led to loads of backlash as most people were able to identify the deal as the blatant cash grab it clearly is.

Now, thanks to Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, the alliance of golf’s former rivals has led to a government probe.

Blumenthal, the chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, is demanding to see all communications in connection with the agreement that was announced last week and sent letters to PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and LIV CEO Greg Norman — who may be relieved of his duties due to the merger, stating as much.

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As Blumenthal outlined in his letters, he has “serious questions” about whether the agreement will give Saudi Arabia new influence in America and further the country’s attempt to “sportswash” away its “deeply disturbing
human rights record at home and abroad.” The senator is right to have those questions and to want answers from the PGA Tour, which was one of the loudest critics of LIV Golf’s affiliation with Saudi Arabia and the PIF prior to the merger.

“PIF is an investment fund of more than $700 billion created by the Saudi government and run by a board that makes investment decisions under ‘the chairmanship and guidance’ of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the effective Saudi leader,” Blumenthal writes. “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.”

Also a member of the judiciary’s antitrust subcommittee, Blumenthal told The Washington Post that he thinks the Justice Department should investigate the deal between the PGA Tour and PIF. “If anybody had known about it beforehand, they probably never could have gotten it done because it would have been such an outcry of opposition and so they did it behind everyone’s back,” he said. “Think of it this way: Suppose Ford, GM and Tesla all decided, ‘We’re going to merge.’ The Department of Justice would be all over it. Granted, there was no LIV a year or two ago, but the antitrust law looks at what’s done with monopoly power in the present, not the past.”

He’s not wrong about something about the LIV-PGA merger not feeling right.

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