LIV Golf CEO and Commissioner Greg Norman met with lawmakers in Washington on Wednesday in what he called a “very informative” meeting, during which he addressed members of Congress about the tour’s recent investments and the The PGA Tour’s anti-competitive efforts intended to target former members who later joined the rival Saudi-backed circuit.
The 20-time PGA Tour winner praised the success of LIV Golf in a meeting with the Republican Study Committee and credited its growth to the quality product it offers, adding, “We never intended to destroy another tour,” a source with knowledge of the meeting told FOX Business.
Norman also praised the importance of competition, calling it the “basis of America,” and said the circuit has invested $300 million in the Asian Tour and is now exploring the possibility of a women’s tour, the source added.
Before last week’s event in Chicago, Norman made similar comments about the benefits of competition and apparently took credit for the PGA Tour’s recent changes.
“Since LIV came on board, the PGA Tour has gone from strength to strength. They would never have done it without competition. Competition is the best thing in any sport,” he said at the time.
A source also told FOX Business that Norman claimed his players were threatened lifetime bans from the PGA Tour and that the tour has threatened to pull PGA Tour press credentials from reporters if they give LIV-friendly coverage. It will also reportedly blacklist vendors that cater to LIV events, according to the source.
The PGA Tour declined to comment on those claims.
After leaving his meeting with Republican lawmakers, Norman declined to say whether he believed the PGA Tour played foul over its suspensions of LIV Golfers, telling FOX Business, “You’ll have to ask the PGA Tour.
“It was here [for the good of] the game of golf. We’re giving the players another platform as independent entrepreneurs to play on.”
The PGA Tour drew a hard line in the sand this summer after some of its members either resigned their memberships or agreed to play in LIV tournaments without release.
Commissioner Jay Monahan issued a memo in June stating that those players would now be considered ineligible to play in PGA Tour events, prompting 11 players to file an antitrust lawsuit claiming the tour’s indefinite suspensions were intended to hurt their careers.
Four players later dropped out of the process and, in their absence, LIV Golf joined.
The Ministry of Justice launched an survey on the PGA Tour handling the situation in July to determine whether it committed antitrust violations.
When asked if he’s faced any criticism from lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Norman told FOX Business, “No. Actually not one person since I’ve been CEO has told me this is a bad idea.”