US PGA Tour officials Jimmy Dunne and Ron Price will speak before a US Senate hearing into the PGA merger deal with Saudi backers of LIV Golf, lawmakers said on Monday.
US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations chairman Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, and Republican ranking member Ron Johnson announced the details in a joint statement.
Testimony had been sought from LIV chief executive Greg Norman and Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) governor Yasir al-Rumayyan but neither will appear at the July 11 hearing.
Price, the tour’s chief operating officer, and Dunne, a PGA Tour board member, will appear instead of PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, who announced the controversial deal with al-Rumayyan after more than a year of ripping LIV and the Saudis to help keep PGA players from jumping to the upstart rival circuit.
Monahan has stepped away from day-to-day PGA Tour duties since last month as he deals with an undisclosed medical situation, with Price handling most of those duties.
Dunne was reportedly a major negotiator of the deal that created a new for-profit entity with major Saudi PIF investment, an agreement that came as a surprise to players on both tours.
The hearing will examine the planned agreement between the PGA Tour and PIF and the tour’s future plans under details of an agreement that wiped out dueling lawsuits between the rival tours last month.
Senators have raised anti-trust worries as well as concerns with Saudi Arabian human rights issues as it invests in sports properties worldwide.
“We appreciate the PGA Tour working with us and look forward to a robust, thoughtful exchange with both Ron Price and Jimmy Dunne on July 11, focusing on the details and background of this deal and what it means for this cherished American institution,” the senators said.
Representatives for Norman and al-Rumayyan told the subcommittee they could not testify due to schedule conflicts.
“Both governor al-Rumayyan and Mr. Norman have valuable information to share about the operations of the Public Investment Fund, the future of LIV Golf, and Saudi Arabia’s plans to invest in golf and other sports,” the senators said.
“Consistent with our subcommittee’s practice, we look forward to working with both witnesses to find a mutually agreeable date for them to appear in the very near future.”
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