Greg Norman met with federal lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Wednesday to lobby on behalf of LIV Golf. And it sounds like it went horribly for the LIV CEO.
Norman met with around 75 members of Congress and spoke for about 20 minutes in an attempt to sway their outlook about the fact that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is funding LIV Golf. The Justice Department’s investigation into the PGA Tour for potential antitrust violations against LIV was surely a topic of discussion as well.
BIDEN’S DOJ BEGINS INVESTIGATION OF PGA TOUR AMID BATTLE WITH LIV GOLF JUST AS HE PREPARES TO VISIT SAUDI ARABIA
Norman did not get off on the right foot during his lunch with Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ind) and other members of the Republican Study Committee.
Burchett reportedly walked away from the lunch and labeled the lobbying efforts as “propaganda.” Following the meeting, Burchett tweeted a rhetorical question about Saudis flying some of the planes in the 9/11 attacks and the murder of columnist Jamal Kashoggi.
“It’s propaganda,” Burchett said of Norman’s meeting. “I don’t want to hear about that. It’s not Congress’ business to settle a fight between a bunch of billionaires over a game of golf. They need to take it to the courts.”
Rep. Chip Rory Says LIV Golf Is “Pimping”Billions Of Saudi Money
While Burchett’s comments were harsh, Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) took things a step further. Back in July, Roy called for the Justice Department to investigate LIV Golf for potential Foreign Agents Registration Act violations for not registering its connection to Saudi Arabia.
With that in mind, you can probably guess what sort of tone his comments about Norman’s lobbying efforts were.
“Don’t come in here and act like you’re doing some great thing, while you’re pimping a billion dollars of Saudi Arabian money,” Rep. Chip Roy of Texas told reporters after the lunch meeting.
“This isn’t about pure competition,” Roy later said, according to ESPN. “Don’t come in here and try to sell me something that is not what you’re actually selling.”
“You’re selling something that is very much in bed with the Saudis, so the Saudis can accomplish their objective and Greg can accomplish his. He’s always wanted to have a rival operation to take on the tour, and he’s been unable to do it until he got a billion-dollar sugar daddy known as the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
Roy also explained that Norman tried to avoid talking about LIV Golf’s ties to Saudi Arabia throughout the meeting.
Greg Norman Willing To Testify In Front Of Congress
The Washington Examiner reports that Norman met with senior Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee, including Jim Jordan (Ohio) and Matt Gaetz (Florida), and told lawmakers he’d be willing to testify in front of Congress to discuss antitrust issues.
Gaetz seems to have been the only politician Norman spoke with that didn’t have something negative to say about both himself and LIV Golf.
“I’m very encouraged that Mr. Norman offered to give testimony to the House Judiciary Committee during my discussion with him today,” Gaetz said in a statement to ESPN. “He has a wealth of knowledge regarding the role of golf in culture and in the world. I believe the country would benefit from hearing more about his perspective.”
LIV Golf’s next event is scheduled for October 7-9 in Bangkok.
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris