Shock PGA-LIV Golf Merger Dismays Some Senators, While Others Remain Unperturbed

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The merger betwixt the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, the second of which is backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, has caused consternation among senators.

The development, announced this week, takes ongoing litigation betwixt the PGA Tour and LIV Golf disconnected the table.

However, senators, chiefly Democrats, expressed their displeasure to The Epoch Times implicit the merger.

“That is an outrage,” said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). She declined to elaborate.

“I americium shocked,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.). “Well, archetypal they were expressing their concerns astir LIV successful the Saudis, and present they’re coming unneurotic and truthful it’s a shocking turn,” she added.

The PGA Tour has expressed dismay implicit LIV Golf, which was founded successful 2021 and began its inaugural play past year.

“I don’t deliberation part is bully for the game,” PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh told U.K.-based outlet The Times last month. “While it whitethorn payment those individuals who person made their decisions, the crippled has moved on. The ones who person departed person mostly disappeared from the scene, successful presumption of vulnerability and recognition.”

Epoch Times Photo A PGA Tour logo successful Naples, Fla., connected Feb. 20, 2022. (Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)

The PGA Tour had prohibited its players from playing successful LIV Golf successful that if they were to bash so, they would nary longer beryllium capable to play successful the PGA Tour. Players including Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson, and Brooks Koepka near the PGA Tour for LIV Golf arsenic the second offered wealth hard to crook down.

The PGA Tour reversed people earlier this twelvemonth and permitted LIV players, including erstwhile PGA competitors, to vie successful the PGA Championship.

“I inactive person immoderate questions astir the Saudis’ involvement,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).

“I’m perfectly aghast astatine the reversal by the PGA, which seems to beryllium a betrayal of the values and the past commitments that they made,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). “And I deliberation that the Department of Justice has an ongoing investigation, that’s been reported, and I deliberation they should proceed it.”

Epoch Times Photo Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) speaks during a proceeding successful Washington connected Sept. 16, 2020. (Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

The Department of Justice has reportedly been investigating the PGA Tour implicit whether it violated antitrust law. The DOJ reportedly has besides been evaluating the merger.

‘A Very American Thing’

Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), who hosted PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan successful his bureau a mates of months ago, remarked that “not arsenic a legislator but arsenic a golfer” helium has “concerns” astir the merger.

“The PGA Tour is simply a very, to me, has ever been a precise American thing. I mean, I look astatine the PGA Tour arsenic similar the NFL and Major League Baseball, and different [leagues],” helium said. “I just find a precise adjacent attachment of our state to the tour. This changes things.”

Kelly acknowledged that the PGA Tour is simply a backstage entity, but the “implementation” of the merger is key.

mark kelly Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) delivers remarks to supporters astatine his predetermination nighttime rally astatine the Rialto Theatre successful Tucson, Ariz., connected Nov. 8, 2022 (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) besides voiced his concerns.

“It gives maine immoderate interest that I’m definite is being looked astatine by a national bureau that oversees overseas investment,” Romney said. “And the stories that the Saudis are looking astatine taking implicit Major League Soccer, obviously, adds to the concern.”

The Epoch Times has reached retired to the Treasury Department, which includes the Committee connected Foreign Investment successful the United States, for remark astir the PGA Tour-LIV Golf merger.

Not truthful Fussed

In comments to The Epoch Times, not each senators shared the outrage implicit the PGA Tour merging with LIV.

“My absorption to it is I deliberation it was astir a twelvemonth agone that [former President Donald] Trump said that the woody was going to extremity up happening,” Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) told The Epoch Times.

“And I deliberation it’s, frankly, hysterical that the PGA postured and morally preen for a year, successful a mode that costs a batch of their players a ton of money, lone to yet articulation up with these guys anyway. So I deliberation 1 happening it teaches you that a batch of times successful the concern community, the motivation posturing is wholly fake.”

Indeed Trump called it.

“All of those golfers that stay ‘loyal’ to the precise disloyal PGA, successful each of its antithetic forms, volition wage a large terms erstwhile the inevitable MERGER with LIV comes, and you get thing but a large ‘thank you’ from PGA officials who are making Millions of Dollars a year,” posted Trump successful July 2022 connected his societal media site, Truth Social.

Epoch Times Photo Former President Donald Trump sits successful a play cart arsenic helium watches Dustin Johnson putt during the pro-am circular of the LIV Golf Invitational Bedminster astatine Trump National Golf Club Bedminster successful N.J. connected July 28, 2022. (Seth Wenig/AP Photo)

“I’ve got nary emotion for the Saudis,” said Vance. “But I deliberation that it’s ridiculous for the PGA to unreal it was a motivation rule that they discarded erstwhile the wealth was right.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) expressed optimism implicit the merger.

“I could spot that coming a mile away. I deliberation it’ll astir apt beryllium bully for golf,” helium said. “You know, getting play into the Mideast would beryllium a bully happening for america all. Yeah, I deliberation it’d beryllium affirmative for golf.”

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) said that the merger would “probably” marque play an “even better” product.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) had a elemental reaction: “It’s golf.”