WASHINGTON — The leaders of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s investigative subcommittee on Wednesday asked the heads of Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf, the Saudis’ Public Investment Fund and the PGA Tour to testify on July 11 about the planned merger of the former rival golf organizations.
Subcommittee Chairman Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and ranking member Ron Johnson, R-Wis., are seeking testimony from LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan about the PIF’s investment in U.S. golf, the risks associated with such an investment in American cultural institutions, and the implications of the planned agreement on professional golf in the U.S.
The senators also asked that the organizations’ leaders “be prepared to discuss the circumstances and terms of the planned agreement between PGA Tour and the PIF, how any new entities formed through the planned agreement will be structured, the expected impact on PGA Tour and LIV Golf players, and the anticipated role of the PIF in U.S. professional golf.”
The PGA Tour, LIV Golf and the PIF did not immediately respond to NBC’s request for comment.
“Americans deserve to know what the structure and governance of this new entity will be,” Blumenthal said in a news release. “Major actors in the deal are best positioned to provide this information, and they owe Congress — and the American people — answers in a public setting.”
In the same press release, Johnson said he hoped the hearing would be constructive.
“I look forward to hearing testimony from the individuals who are in the best positions to provide insight to the public regarding the current state of professional golf,” he said.
Rivals PGA Tour and LIV Golf announced the surprise — and controversial — merger on June 6.
Following the announcement, 9/11 Families United, a group made up of families of the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, released a statement saying they were “shocked and deeply offended” by the merger — drawing attention to Saudi connections to the 2001 attacks.
“PGA Tour leaders should be ashamed of their hypocrisy and greed,” said 9/11 Families United chair Terry Strada in the statement. “Our entire 9/11 community has been betrayed by Commissioner Monahan and the PGA as it appears their concern for our loved ones was merely window-dressing in their quest for money — it was never to honor the great game of golf.”
The senators requested that the three heads confirm their attendance at the hearing no later than June 28.
Frank Thorp V contributed.