A U.S. Senate panel is trying to turn up the heat on Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund regarding its efforts to align with the PGA Tour.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, subpoenaed a U.S. subsidiary of the massive oil-rich sovereign wealth fund, which bankrolled LIV Golf and recently entered into a framework agreement with the PGA Tour to create a for-profit business. The subcommittee wants to see “documents related to PIF’s takeover of American golf and other investments throughout the United States.” So far, the Saudis – particularly Yasir Al-Rumayyan, who oversees the oil-rich PIF estimated at $775 billion – and LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman have rebuffed Senate inquiries to testify. Neither is an American citizen.
“I’m not letting this issue go,” Blumenthal said Wednesday in his opening remarks to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which he chairs.
In a memo to the subcommittee, Blumenthal wrote that Al-Rumayyan “repeatedly declined to voluntarily cooperate with the Subcommittee’s investigation” since the PIF announced June 6 that it had entered into a framework agreement with the PGA Tour. “The information requested is necessary for the Subcommittee to understand the extent of and reasons for PIF’s extensive U.S. investments.”
No PGA Tour or PIF officials testified at last week’s meeting. Two months ago, PGA Tour executive Ron Price and board member Jimmy Dunne responded to the subcommittee’s questions.
However, Ben Freeman, an expert on foreign influence and money in politics, testified to the panel last week that the Saudis are “sportswashing” their reputation and “want Americans to associate Saudi Arabia with golf and not with 9/11.” READ MORE
Richard Heathcote, Getty ImageS
The U.S. Ryder Cup team already is on the same page in at least one regard: It unanimously voted not to allow the crew for Netflix’s “Full Swing” documentary to have unlimited access to the locker room next week during the match.
“They all felt like it was best to navigate that week of the tournament in a manner which the sanctity and sacredness of Team USA is preserved,” American captain Zach Johnson said in explaining his team’s vote to keep certain areas off limits at Marco Simone in Rome, Italy.
Netflix is in production for its second season of a behind-the-scenes look at life on the PGA Tour. READ MORE
Chris Zambri, the associate head men’s coach at Pepperdine University, has been named the inaugural head coach for the U.S. National Development Program, the USGA announced. Zambri will begin November 1. READ MORE
For the fifth time this year, women’s golf has a new world No. 1. Ruoying Yin ascended to the top spot in the Rolex Rankings. Yin, 20, of China, won the DIO Implant LA Open and the KPMG Women’s PGA titles this year. READ MORE
TGL, the tech-infused golf league backed by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, has contracted with U.S. Integrity to provide the betting program in advance of the tour’s scheduled debut in January, officials announced. READ MORE
Gil Hanse will redesign The Links at Spanish Bay, one of five courses at California’s seaside Pebble Beach Resort, the Pebble Beach Company announced. No timetable for the work was disclosed. Hanse’s design credits include Castle Stuart in Scotland, Streamsong Black in Florida and the Olympic Course in Brazil. READ MORE
Jon Wood has been named course manager at St. Andrews, Scotland, with day-to-day oversight of the Old Course and the New and Jubilee courses at the ancestral “home of golf.” Wood becomes only the 10th “keeper of the green” since 1864, dating to the tenure of four-time Open champion Old Tom Morris. READ MORE
Former President Donald Trump’s name will be removed from a New York City-owned course in the Bronx borough after the Trump Organization sold its contract to operate Trump Golf Links Ferry Point to the Bally’s casino chain, the New York Post reported. In 2015, the Trump Organization signed a 20-year lease to manage the facility. READ MORE
The Volvo China Open will be the final event of the Asian Tour’s eight-tournament International Series, the tour announced. The China Open will be played November 2-5 at Shenzhen’s Hidden Grace Golf Club, formerly known as Genzon Golf Club. The tournament was not played last year because of COVID-19, and was limited to Chinese players because of pandemic-related travel restrictions in 2020 and ’21. READ MORE
Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kansas, will host two USGA championships within the next decade: the 2029 U.S. Senior Open and the 2032 U.S. Senior Women’s Open. READ MORE
Sunriver (Oregon) Resort will host three PGA of America tournaments next year. The PGA Cup will be played September 9-15 on the Meadows course, followed by the Senior PGA Professional Championship on September 26-29 on the Meadows and Woodlands courses. The Women’s PGA Cup will be played October 1-5 on Meadows. READ MORE
Compiled by Steve Harmon