Saudis Will Pump More Than $1 Billion Into New Golf League, PGA Tour Official Testifies

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
Font Size:

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will invest more than $1 billion into a new golf entity, a top PGA Tour official testified to Congress on Tuesday.

The PGA Tour, DP World Tour, and the Saudi-backed LIV Golf announced in early June that they would merge to form a new professional sports entity. Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations chairman Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut announced an investigation into the merger shortly after. He cited antitrust concerns, as well as Saudi Arabia’s investments in the new league through its Public Investment Fund.

PGA Tour Chief Operating Officer Ron Price testified that PIF will put “north of $1 billion” into the new league, which will be a “PGA Tour subsidiary.” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan will hold a similar position in the new company, while PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan will serve as chairman of the tour. (RELATED: ‘Glamorous Deal’: Trump Cheers On LIV Golf-PGA Merger)

Price added that the Saudis would not necessarily invest more in the new entity, since the PGA Tour would not have to accept it. He also said that the final dollar amount has not been finalized.

That is in the complete control of the PGA Tour because it is a PGA Tour subsidiary. The board is controlled by the PGA Tour. They have absolute control over how much funding they accept now and in the future,” he told Blumenthal.

PGA Tour policy board member Jimmy Dunne testified to the subcommittee that it is “possible” that the two sides do not come to an agreement. However, Monahan previously told players that the PGA Tour was losing money defending against an antitrust lawsuit filed by LIV players who were suspended by the PGA, thus making the deal necessary.

“They have no economic constraint. They have no time constraint,” Dunne said. “Their entire existence is based on taking more of our players.”

PIF controls $650 billion in Saudi government assets. It lured some of golf’s biggest stars, including Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, to the LIV Tour with nine-figure signing bonuses, the promise of guaranteed pay for each tournament played in, and three- instead of four-day tournaments. Tiger Woods, the PGA Tour’s all-time leading money winner at nearly $121 million, reportedly turned down between $700-800 million.

“It takes a lot to say no to a bucket full of money,” Blumenthal said. “These players are heroes, and they deserve our thanks.”