Why the PGA Tour is worried about LIV Golf

Why the PGA Tour is worried about LIV Golf

The PGA Tour has been in touch with White House officials and congressional lawmakers about its concerns with LIV Golf, a rival league funded by Saudi Arabia. As plans for LIV Golf were coming together, the PGA Tour started reaching out to the White House and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in the second quarter of 2021. The PGA Tour wants to ensure a level playing field for all golf leagues and is looking forward to working with the White House and Congress on this issue.

"We remain committed to ensuring that the PGA Tour is the preeminent golf league in the world," said Commissioner Jay Monahan. "We will continue to monitor this situation and work with all relevant parties to protect our interest."

PGA Tour reaches out to White House and lawmakers

According to lobbying disclosure reports and people familiar with the matter, the PGA Tour quietly started reaching out to the White House and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in the second quarter of 2021, as plans for LIV Golf were coming together.

It is unclear what precisely was discussed, but the outreach suggests that the PGA Tour seeks to build support for the event among thorny legal and political issues that could arise. LIV Golf is slated to be held at Trump National Doral in Miami from October 28-31 and will feature a $50 million prize purse, making it one of the richest events in golf.

Given the high stakes involved, it's not surprising that the PGA Tour is taking a proactive approach to engage with policymakers. But a few months before the event, time runs short of resolving potential problems.

LIV Golf has already drawn some big names, including the world's 16th-ranked player, Dustin Johnson. In addition, PGA Tour player Pat is linked to the event, according to Golfweek.

The PGA Tour is the world's largest and most prominent golf tour, with 43 events on its schedule this year and total prize money of $363 million. LIV Golf's founders are looking to capitalize on the sport's growing popularity in Asia and the Middle East and a void left by the PGA Tour's decision to reduce its schedule from 52 tournaments to 43.

Saudi Arabia has been a controversial sponsor in history, and its involvement with LIV Golf could create headaches for the PGA Tour.

Photo by Matthew Bornhorst / Unsplash

PGA Tour has concerns with LIV Golf

In 2016, the PGA Tour scrapped plans for a tournament in the country after human rights groups raised concerns about the kingdom's treatment of women and minorities. In 2018, Saudi Arabia was accused of killing Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, and the PGA Tour was criticized for continuing to do business with the kingdom.

The PGA Tour has made a concerted effort in recent years to distance itself from Saudi Arabia. In 2019, it pulled out of a $20 million deal with the Saudi Golf Federation after the kingdom was accused of sponsorships that conflicted with the PGA Tour's values.

But the PGA Tour's interest in LIV Golf shows that the lure of money from Saudi Arabia remains strong. The PGA Tour declined to comment on its outreach to the White House and Congress, but a person familiar with the matter said the league seeks to protect its interest and ensure a level playing field for all golf leagues.

LIV Golf did not respond to requests for comment.

The PGA Tour's reach extends beyond the United States, with events in Canada, Mexico, China, South Korea, Malaysia, and the Bahamas. The PGA Tour is also televising tournaments in Europe and Australia this year. But the vast majority of its events and prize money are still in the United States, and it remains to be seen whether LIV Golf will be able to attract top American players regularly.

PGA Tour wants to ensure a level playing field for all golf leagues

The PGA Tour wants to ensure a level playing field for all golf leagues, and it looks forward to working with the White House and Congress on this issue.

Johnson and Mickelson are golfers suspended from the PGA Tour for participating in the LIV league. The Department of Justice is investigating whether the PGA Tour engaged in anticompetitive behavior. It has been alleged that the PGA Tour bribed or coerced Mickelson and Johnson into signing restrictive contracts that would prevent them from playing in rival leagues. If true, this would be a clear violation of antitrust law.

However, the PGA Tour has denied any wrongdoing, and it remains to be seen whether the DOJ will bring charges against the organization. In the meantime, Mickelson and Johnson will be able to compete in the LIV Golf league. And while they may be suspended from the PGA Tour, they can still command enormous salaries from LIV Golf.

So far, the league has secured contracts from some of the most prominent American golfers, including Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson. Each reportedly signed agreements with LIV Golf worth well over $100 million. With such high-profile players involved, it seems likely that the LIV Golf league will be a big success – even with its checkered start.

PGA Tour wants to ensure a level playing field for all golf leagues. PGA Tour has been the world's preeminent golf organization for over 100 years and is committed to maintaining that standard. PGA Tour believes that all golfers should have access to the same level of competition, regardless of their league affiliation.

PGA Tour works with the USGA and R&A to create rules governing all golf leagues. PGA Tour wants to ensure that all golfers have a fair chance to compete, and it is committed to providing that the same rules govern all leagues. PGA Tour is confident that this initiative will promote fairness and competitive balance in all golf leagues.

What do you think of the PGA Tour's concerns about LIV Golf?

PGA Tour looks forward to working with the White House and Congress on this issue

In the past year, the PGA Tour has spent thousands of dollars to lobby lawmakers on multiple topics - including proposals for a Saudi Golf League.

According to recent filings, the PGA Tour spent $120,000 in the second quarter of 2022 on lobbying efforts. This is the most that the PGA Tour had spent on lobbying in a given period since 2004 when they sought federal appropriations and grants for a charity golf program for young people.

The latest filing says the tour recently lobbied President Joe Biden's Executive Office this year. It is unclear what specific proposals were being discussed or why the PGA Tour interested them. However, given the large sum of money spent on lobbying, it is clear that the PGA Tour is taking these proposals seriously.

The PGA Tour has not yet commented on its lobbying efforts. It is also unclear what specific concerns the PGA Tour has about the LIV Golf league. However, given the PGA Tour's history of success and its commitment to maintaining a level playing field for all golfers, it is likely that the PGA Tour is worried about the potential impact of the LIV Golf league on its own business.

Quote from PGA Tour Commissioner

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said the governing body is committed to ensuring a level playing field for all golf leagues. However, following criticism, a proposed rule change would advantage PGA Tour members.

"We understand and appreciate the concerns raised," Monahan said. "The PGA Tour is committed to maintaining a level playing field for all our members and the Tours with which we compete."

Monahan's comments come after the PGA Tour's policy board voted unanimously to approve a measure that would ban the use of video during tournament play. The rule change, which still needs approval from the PGA of America, would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

The PGA Tour has come under fire from some golfers, who argue that the proposed rule change would give PGA Tour members an unfair advantage over players from other tours. But Monahan said the PGA Tour is "committed to working with all of our colleagues across the sport to ensure that all players have access to similar resources and information."

What do you think of PGA Tour's lobbying efforts?

The PGA Tour has long been a bastion of competitive integrity, with a commitment to a level playing field for all golfers. It's no wonder, then, that they would be so vocal in their opposition to the Saudi-funded LIV golf league. This new tour threatens the foundation of the PGA Tour, and it will be fascinating to see how this plays out in the coming months. Do you think the PGA Tour is committed to a level playing field for all golfers?

The PGA Tour has been in touch with White House officials and congressional lawmakers about its concerns with LIV Golf, a rival league funded by Saudi Arabia. As plans for LIV Golf were coming together, the PGA Tour started reaching out to the White House and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in the second quarter of 2021. The PGA Tour wants to ensure a level playing field for all golf leagues and is looking forward to working with the White House and Congress on this issue.

"We remain committed to ensuring that the PGA Tour is the preeminent golf league in the world," said Commissioner Jay Monahan. "We will continue to monitor this situation and work with all relevant parties to protect our interest."

The PGA Tour has long been a bastion of competitive integrity, with a commitment to a level playing field for all golfers. It's no wonder, then, that they would be so vocal in their opposition to the Saudi-funded LIV golf league.

This new tour threatens the foundation of the PGA Tour, and it will be fascinating to see how this plays out in the coming months. Do you think the PGA Tour is committed to a level playing field for all golfers?


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