The PGA Tour logo during the third round of the Travelers Championship on June 24, 2017 at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut.
Fred Kfoury | Icon Sportswire | Getty Images
WASHINGTON — A top Democratic lawmaker launched an investigation Monday into a planned merger between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, backed by Saudi Arabia.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., requested details of the agreement between the two organizations, including how the new combined entity will operate in light of human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, in letters to PGA Tour commissioners. Jay Monaghan and CEO of LIV Golf Greg Norman.
The letter from Blumenthal comes at a time when the PGA Tour-LIV deal is intense examination and doubt on whether the merger can be completed, given the severity of the previous claims in the golf leagues’ previous disputes against each other.
The Saudi government has been accused of widespread human rights abuses, including orchestrating the murder of a Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
9/11 Families United, a group representing families of victims of the terrorist attack slammed the fusion due to the involvement of Saudi Arabia. Blumenthal has previously sided with victims’ families when another organization, the 9/11 Justice Group, he protested LIV event at the golf course owned by former President Donald Trump.
June 6 merger announcement was “a sudden and drastic reversal of position regarding LIV Golf,” wrote Blumenthal, who chairs the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The Tour and its commissioner have previously spoken strongly against LIV and its role in professional golf.
Meanwhile, the Saudi government’s private equity fund, which owns LIV, has made clear plans to use investments in sports to further the Saudi government’s goals, Blumenthal’s letter said.
“The 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 taking control of a venerable American institution,” Blumenthal wrote.
Prior to the merger agreement, it included the PGA Tour’s rivalry with LIV legal action between the two. Subjects agreed to this squash all pending lawsuits as part of their plan to combine the commercial business and rights into an as yet unnamed for-profit company.
Monahan told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” on Tuesday that the merger is a advantage to play golf despite the previous “tension”.
The deal will require PGA Tour board approval, according to a notice to players from Monahan.
“We are confident that as Congress learns more about how the PGA Tour will govern this new venture, they will understand the opportunities it will create for our players, our communities and our sport, all while protecting America’s golf institution,” the tour said. . CNBC in a statement later Monday.
LIV Golf declined to comment on Blumenthal’s letters.
Blumenthal asked for answers to several questions, including an outline of the corporate structure and records of any disputes between the company’s directors and other interested parties, by June 26.
– CNBC Jessica Golden contributed to this report.