The merger between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, the latter of which is backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, has caused consternation among senators.
The development, announced this week, takes ongoing litigation between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf off the table.
However, senators, mainly Democrats, expressed their displeasure to The Epoch Times over the merger.
"That is an outrage," said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). She declined to elaborate.
"I am shocked," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.). "Well, first they were expressing their concerns about LIV in the Saudis, and now they're coming together and so it's a shocking turn," she added.
The PGA Tour has expressed dismay over LIV Golf, which was founded in 2021 and began its inaugural season last year.
"I don't think division is good for the game," PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh told U.K.-based outlet The Times last month. "While it may benefit those individuals who have made their decisions, the game has moved on. The ones who have departed have largely disappeared from the scene, in terms of exposure and recognition."
The PGA Tour had prohibited its players from playing in LIV Golf in that if they were to do so, they would no longer be able to play in the PGA Tour. Players including Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson, and Brooks Koepka left the PGA Tour for LIV Golf as the latter offered money hard to turn down.
"I still have some questions about the Saudis' involvement," said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).
"I'm absolutely aghast at the reversal by the PGA, which seems to be a betrayal of the values and the past commitments that they made," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). "And I think that the Department of Justice has an ongoing investigation, that's been reported, and I think they should continue it."
'A Very American Thing'Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), who hosted PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan in his office a couple of months ago, remarked that "not as a senator but as a golfer" he has "concerns" about the merger.
"The PGA Tour is a very, to me, has always been a very American thing. I mean, I look at the PGA Tour as like the NFL and Major League Baseball, and other [leagues]," he said. "I just find a very close attachment of our country to the tour. This changes things."
Kelly acknowledged that the PGA Tour is a private entity, but the "implementation" of the merger is key.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) also voiced his concerns.
"It gives me some concern that I'm sure is being looked at by a federal agency that oversees foreign investment," Romney said. "And the stories that the Saudis are looking at taking over Major League Soccer, obviously, adds to the concern."
Not so FussedIn comments to The Epoch Times, not all senators shared the outrage over the PGA Tour merging with LIV.
"My reaction to it is I think it was about a year ago that [former President Donald] Trump said that the deal was going to end up happening," Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) told The Epoch Times.
"And I think it's, frankly, hysterical that the PGA postured and morally preen for a year, in a way that costs a lot of their players a ton of money, only to eventually join up with these guys anyway. So I think one thing it teaches you that a lot of times in the business community, the moral posturing is completely fake."
Indeed Trump called it.
"I've got no love for the Saudis," said Vance. "But I think that it's ridiculous for the PGA to pretend it was a moral principle that they discarded when the money was right."
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) expressed optimism over the merger.
"I could see that coming a mile away. I think it'll probably be good for golf," he said. "You know, getting golf into the Mideast would be a good thing for us all. Yeah, I think it'd be positive for golf."
Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) said that the merger would "probably" make golf an "even better" product.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) had a simple reaction: "It's golf."