Greg Norman has been accused by American lawmakers of “pimping a billion dollars of Saudi Arabian money” and spreading “propaganda”.
Norman, the chief executive of LIV Golf, spoke with high-ranking politicians on a visit to Capitol Hill and in some quarters his input was welcomed as the debate over the PGA Tour and anti-competition rules intensifies. But following Norman’s 20-minute presentation to the Republican Study Committee, some Congress representatives were not at all complimentary about his lobbying for the Saudi-funded circuit.
“Don’t come in here and act like you’re doing some great thing, while you’re pimping a billion dollars of Saudi Arabian money,” Chip Roy, a representative of Texas, said. “I respect Greg and his [right] to do whatever he wants to do. But this isn’t about pure competition.
“Don’t come in here and try to sell me something that is not what you’re actually selling. You’re selling something that is very much in bed with the Saudis, so the Saudis can accomplish their objective and Greg can accomplish his.
“He’s always wanted to have a rival operation to take on the Tour, and he’s been unable to do it until he got a billion-dollar sugar daddy known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
Another representative, Tim Burchett, walked out of Norman’s talk. Burchett said: “It’s propaganda. I don’t want to hear about that. It’s not Congress’s business to settle a fight between a bunch of billionaires over a game of golf.”