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Josh Hawley Scolds PGA Executives for Hypocrisy over LIV Golf Merger

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) excoriated PGA Tour executives for their alleged hypocrisy amid the Saudi-backed LIV Golf merger.

During a U.S. Senate hearing on Tuesday, Hawley pressed PGA COO Ron Price about how the organization spent more than six figures in lobbying against LIV last year.

“Public reports say that you paid lobbyists last year in one quarter, just one quarter of the year, six figures or more as — to lobby Congress on the Saudi golf league proposals,” Hawley said. “What was that related to?”

“Senator, we went to members of Congress as we faced a very threat to our existence to make them aware of what the [Saudi] Public Investment Fund [PIF] was attempting to do through its operations of the LIV Golf series,” Price replied.

“And so, make Congress aware and ask it for what? What did you want this body to do?” Hawley added.

“Senator, anything that the Congress could do within its power to help preserve an American institution,” Price said.

“But this is before you agreed to take a billion dollars from the same people that you were lobbying against a year ago?” Hawley shot back.

Price said that the PGA Tour “faced a choice,” and they had to go with a merger or risk having the Public Investment Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia control all professional golf.

While Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) felt that the PGA Tour did nothing wrong by “negotiating its survival,” other Republican senators, such as Roger Marshall (R-KS), said that the Saudi government used LIV golf as a way to increase its standing in the world.

“What was China doing when they hosted the Olympics but a few years ago, but sportswashing? Trying to wash their enslavement of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of Muslims. Trying to sportswash their purchase of thousands of United States farmland acres. To sportswash their research into bioterrorism weapons,” Marshall asked. “Why aren’t we investigating those issues?” said Marshall.

“Why aren’t we investigating that 90% of the counterfeits that come into this country are made in China? 90% of the fentanyl that comes in this country is made in China. They steal $500 billion of intellectual property from us every year. Those are the things that we should be investigating,” he added.

The merger between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour shocked the world last month, especially considering how much the two were at odds, with the PGA once referring to the LIV as “blood money.” In response to the controversy, Monahan went as far as to blame Congress for the merger, charging that the U.S. has too deep of financial ties with the Saudi government.

“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 in a letter to Congress. “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.”

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