Greg Norman is headed to Washington, DC, this week to meet with members of Congress in an attempt to push back on PGA Tour lobbying events while also hoping to enhance the LIV Golf League’s image due to considerable backlash over its funding from Saudi Arabia.
Norman, the Hall of Fame golfer who won two major championships, was announced late last year as LIV Golf’s CEO and commissioner of the league. He won 20 times on the PGA Tour.
“LIV Golf is coming to the Hill this week to meet with lawmakers from both parties,” said Jonathan Grella, LIV Golf’s chief communications officer, in a statement to Sports Illustrated. “Given the PGA Tour’s attempts to stifle our progress in reimagining the game, we think it’s imperative to educate members on LIV’s business model and counter the Tour’s anti-competitive efforts.”
Politico first reported on Norman’s efforts, which are expected to take place “mid-week.”
LIV Golf played its fifth event over the weekend, with British Open champion Cam Smith winning at the event outside of Chicago. The controversial new venture has signed several star players to massive guaranteed contracts and is offering substantial purses for individual and team competitions.
In August, 11 players—now reduced to seven—led by Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau, sued the PGA Tour for antitrust violations. As part of that, a temporary restraining order was sought to allow LIV golfers Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones to compete in the FedEx Cup playoffs because they had previously earned enough points to qualify. A Northern California judge denied their request.
Since launching in June, LIV Golf has seen the likes of Mickelson, DeChambeau, Smith, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka and Sergio Garcia jump to the rival circuit.
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Some players resigned their PGA Tour memberships and those who did not were at first indefinitely suspended and have since seen their memberships revoked.
This week’s Presidents Cup in Charlotte took a big hit, especially on the International side, where Australia’s Smith and Marc Leishman, as well as Chile’s Joaquin Niemann and South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace—all who have gone to LIV—would have been expected two participate.
Last month, Politico reported that LIV Golf registered to lobby in Washington, DC Its registration was filed under the Lobbying Disclosure Act.
Norman, who has tried to reach out to Monahan in the past, last week told an Australian newspaper that he didn’t believe any kind of agreement between the two entities was possible.
Mickelson was still holding out hope.
“The PGA Tour for the last 20 or 30 years have had all the best players in the world,” Mickelson said. “That will never be the case again. LIV Golf is here to stay, and this type of divisive talk is doing nobody good.
“The best solution is for us to come together. I think that the world of professional golf has a need for the old, historical history of the game product that the PGA Tour provides, and I think that LIV provides a really cool, updated feel that is attracting a much younger crowd, and that’s being proven in the people who are watching and the age of the people who are watching.
“I think both are needed for the game of golf. Both are good for the game of golf. The inclusion of LIV Golf in the ecosystem of the golf world is necessary. As soon as that happens and we all start working together, that’s going to be a really positive thing for everyone.”