As PGA executives uphold their agreement before lawmakers for the first time, conversations between Jimmy Dunne and Yasir Al-Rumayyan, describing how the largest merger in golf history came about has been released.
Discussions among golf officials date back until late last year, according to newly leaked email correspondence, WhatsApp conversations, internal chats, and documents uncovered by a Senate investigation ahead of Tuesday’s hearing.
The governor of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, received an initial WhatsApp message from PGA board member Jimmy Dunne at 7:10 am on April 18: “Yasir, my name is Jimmy Dunne. I’m a member of the Tour policy board. I’d like the opportunity for a call and hopefully a visit.” The conversation that takes place after has now been leaked online and is going viral on social media.
You can have a look at the messages here:
Some newly released documents go on to explain how upstart LIV Golf made a commitment to stop snatching beneficial golfers and competing against PGA Tour-sponsored events in exchange for a voice in sports administration and a cut of future media rights.
Due to antitrust concerns, lawmakers have ordered probes into the sudden merging of the PGA Tour and LIV Golf. A person with knowledge of the situation claims that the Justice Department, which is carefully monitoring the hearing today, was already looking into PGA due to antitrust concerns.
As legislators look into concerns about the proposed tie-up, Dunne, who assisted in negotiating the pact, and PGA Tour Chief Operating Officer Ron Price started appearing before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations on Tuesday. However, Price minimized the part LIV golf will play in the arrangement during the hearing and defended the accord as ending a bitter legal dispute between the two leagues.
“Instead of losing control of the PGA tour, an American institution and tradition, we pursued a peace,” Price said. “The framework agreement contains important safeguards that ensures the tour will operate fundamentally as it does today.”