In an opening statement prepared for the subcommittee, Price argued that the tour, faced with the threat of competition from one of the world’s most powerful sovereign wealth funds, had little choice but to seek some coexistence after months of acrimony in court and in jockeying. . because of the loyalty of the best players in the world.
“It was clear to us – and to everyone who loves the PGA Tour and the game of golf as a whole – that the dispute was undermining growth of our sport and threatened the very survival of the PGA Tour, and it was unsustainable,” Price. said “While we had significant wins in the lawsuit, our players, fans, partners, staff, charities and communities would lose out in the long term.”
Price acknowledged that with negotiations for a final deal still unfolding, “there are no guarantees that we will get the final approval” of a deal from the tour’s governing body. Over the weekend, one member of the board, former AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson, resigned. In a letter about his exit, Stephenson said, “the construction currently being negotiated by management is not one that I can objectively evaluate or in good conscience support.”
Tour executives were eager to show how the deal leaves them positioned to run the day-to-day operations of professional golf. The tour’s commissioner, Jay Monahan, has been signed on as the chief executive of the new company, expected to be called PGA Tour Enterprises, and the tour is expected to fill a majority of the company’s board seats.
They were much less eager to discuss how Yasir al-Rumayyan, the governor of the wealth fund, will serve as the chairman of PGA Tour Enterprises and how the framework agreement envisages vast investment rights for a Riyadh-based fund whose power and value have swelled in. recent years
Neither al-Rumayyan nor Norman agreed to testify at Tuesday’s hearing, citing scheduling conflicts. But documents released by the subcommittee suggest both will be factors in an investigation that could last months.
The effort to oust Norman was well under way by May 24, when the chairman of the PGA Tour board, Edward D. Herlihy, sent a proposed cover letter to Michael Klein, a banker working with the wealth fund. The proposal required Norman, as well as a British outfit central to developing LIV, to “cease” work on LIV within a month of “the management transition to the PGA Tour”.