Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJune 13, 2023

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PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan wrote in a letter to Congress that his organization’s alignment with the LIV Golf League and the Public Investment Fund is “not a merger.”

“Let me be clear that despite numerous reports, this arrangement is not a merger between the PGA TOUR, LIV Golf, and the PIF,” Monahan wrote.

Politico obtained a copy of a letter Monahan wrote in which the commissioner claimed that inaction from Congress forced the PGA Tour’s hand in aligning with its ex-archrival in the Saudi-backed golf league.

“During this intense battle, we met with several Members of Congress and policy experts to discuss the PIF’s attempt to take over the game of golf in the United States, and suggested ways that Congress could support us in these efforts,” Monahan wrote.

“While we are grateful for the written declarations of support we received from certain members, we were largely left on our own to fend off the attacks, ostensibly due to the United States’ complex geopolitical alliance with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This left the very real prospect of another decade of expensive and distracting litigation and the PGA TOUR’s long-term existence under threat.”

The PGA Tour’s announcement revealing the agreement did not use the term “merger,” instead stating it formed “a landmark agreement to unify the game of golf, on a global basis.”

The reported plan is to align “PIF’s golf-related commercial businesses and rights (including LIV Golf) with the commercial businesses and rights of the PGA TOUR and DP World Tour into a new, collectively owned, for-profit entity.”

Monahan wrote that he will be the CEO of that entity, while PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan will be chairman. He also stated that the PGA Tour will hold the majority of seats on the board and maintain control of the entity, going so far as to call the PIF a minority investor.

The PGA Tour-LIV Golf League alignment has caught the attention of Congress, to the point where Homeland Security investigative subcommittee chair Sen. Richard Blumenthal has demanded a release of records in a letter to Monahan.

“While few details about the agreement are known, PIF’s role as an arm of the Saudi government and PGA Tour’s sudden and drastic reversal of position concerning LIV Golf raise serious questions regarding the reasons for and terms behind the announced agreement,” Blumenthal wrote, per Politico.

Blumenthal also wrote a letter to LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman on the matter. They have until June 26 to release those documents to the subcommittee. Requests include record of the agreement and plans for the new group, per ESPN’s Mark Schlabach.

It also includes any communication Monahan had “concerning risks to PGA Tour posed by LIV Golf, ownership of LIV Golf, and Saudi Arabia’s influence on LIV Golf,” among other requests.

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