Chip Roy meets LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman on Capitol Hill

Texas Republicans have largely avoided taking sides in a professional golf showdown between the PGA Tour and the Saudi-backed major golf tournament, but not Texas Rep. Chip Roy does not, which includes the Hill Country area northeast of San Antonio.

The Advanced Golf League is financed by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund as part of a contract plan to diversify its economy from oil dependence and increase tourism. Unlike other professional sports, professional golfers traditionally do not enjoy guaranteed areas regardless of performance or health status, but instead earn winnings based on their finish in the tournament.

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LIV took advantage of this and gave tens or even hundreds of millions to hunt some of the best players in the world. The CEO is Australian golf legend Greg Norman, who is also a longtime friend and supporter of former President Donald J. Trump.

Norman visited Capitol Hill on Wednesday to address the conservative House of Representatives caucus and reiterate his claims that the PGA Tour violated federal antitrust laws in its efforts to prevent players from jumping ship. He may have expected a friendly reception given his close ties to Trump, who has backed the Saudi league and hosted one of his tournaments at his New Jersey club this summer, but Roy appeared to be having none of it.

“Don’t come here and act like you’re doing something big while you’re sending a billion dollars of money in Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabia to the United States,” Roy told reporters after the event. As mentioned by hill. Roy then described Norman’s visit to the Capitol as “public relations for Saudi Arabia – it’s PR for Gulf LIV”.

The LIV Golf and PGA Tour showdown challenged the elegant political classes.

Players who sign the LIV are banned from PGA Tour events, although they can still play in certain majors or international tournaments if they qualify. Trump and some of his allies sided with LIV on the PGA Tour. Before President Joe Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia this year, news leaked that his Justice Department was investigating the PGA Tour for anti-competitive conduct against LIV.

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican, wrote to Biden shortly afterward, saying, “The timing raises questions about Saudi Arabia’s involvement in both the primary antitrust investigation and Monday’s media reports about the investigation, as well as possible foreign pressure matters relating to the foreign agents. Registration Act.”

While LIV Golf is classified as for-profit, the PGA Tour is a non-profit organization that has raised more than $3 billion for charity. Texas events include the Houston Open in the fall, a world championship of golf held in Austin each spring, as well as the Dallas event.

In the Roy neighborhood just outside of San Antonio, the PGA Tour hosts the Valero Texas Open every spring, which this year raised more than $20 million for children in need.

Trump has maintained a warm relationship with the Saudis throughout his tenure and presidential career, making LIV Golf a natural ally.

His golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey was supposed to host one of the four major golf tournaments, but shortly after the events of January 6, 2021, it was dropped. Instead, the Trump Club of New Jersey hosted an LIV golf event this summer, which he and many of his closest political allies attended, and this fall, Trump’s Miami Doral will host the final tournament of the 2022 LIV season .

At an event in New Jersey, Trump railed against the PGA Tour and sided with the LIV, saying that professional golfers’ salaries would rise and that “I’ve known these guys for a long time in Saudi Arabia and they’re my tall — time friends.”

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