The Senate Finance Committee Chairman, Ron Wyden, announced that his panel will conduct a thorough investigation into the PGA-LIV golf merger. Wyden did not disclose any details about the investigation or a potential hearing date, but expressed challenges in obtaining information and accountability from the Saudi government.
“This looks like hypocrisy driven by a major cash grab, and we’re gonna get to the bottom of it,” Wyden told reporters.
The Justice Department is conducting an antitrust investigation into the PGA Tour. The investigation is focused on whether the organization manipulated the labor market in the sport. Players, including Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, and Sergio García, have been interviewed by investigators. The New York Times reported on the investigation.
Bloomberg reported that the Justice Department is also conducting an investigation into the merger.
“I would intensify and focus it not only on the antitrust issues, but also on the potential foreign registration questions,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said.
Blumenthal and his fellow Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, D, are furious with the PGA for joining a league that is backed by Saudi Arabia, as families of 9/11 victims accuse the kingdom of funding terrorism.
“If PGA really wants to make amends for this really, absolutely abhorrent merger, it ought to be supporting the 9/11 families rather than merging with an organization that tried to smear them,” Blumenthal said.
“And it’s disappointing that the PGA was up here on the Hill, asking us all to join with them, in fighting back against the Saudis attempt to try to paper over their human rights record. And now they are very willing and enthusiastic to actually provide that same service to the Saudi government,” Murphy said.
PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan mentioned using Saudi Arabia’s human rights record to dissuade players from leaving the PGA, citing personal connections to families affected by 9/11.
The group 9/11 Families United expressed their displeasure with the PGA-LIV agreement, claiming that Saudi Arabia is attempting to improve its reputation through sports, a phenomenon known as “sportswashing,” and that the PGA is aiding them in this effort.