September is shaping up to be a big month for golf – and not just because of the two contests taking place between USA and Europe.
Behind the scenes, the PGA Tour’s proposed deal with the Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has been scrutinised in some depth, and matters could come to head when the United States Senate hosts another public hearing on September 13.
The hearing, which is expected to focus on PIF’s investments in the United States, comes after PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan’s evasions to testify before the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI).
The Hill reports that Al-Rumayyan once again denied a request to testify before the subcommittee.
In a letter made public last month, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal of the PSI pushed back on Al-Rumayyan’s claim that he qualifies as an “inappropriate witness.”
According to Blumenthal, Al-Rumayyan and his counsel have argued he is a “minister bound by the Kingdom’s laws regarding the confidentiality of certain information” and that the subcommittee’s request for documents from PIF raises significant legal considerations due to diplomatic immunity.
However, as Blumenthal notes, this is the same claim that Al-Rumayyan unsuccessfully made in the PGA Tour’s countersuit against the Saudi-backed LIV Golf, the controversial circuit that he heads.
In February, federal magistrate judge Susan van Keulen rejected LIV’s arguments that the PIF and Al-Rumayyan were protected by sovereign immunity laws because Al-Rumayan’s conduct “falls within the commercial activity exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act.”
Although not everyone welcomed the deal, it did at least put an end to litigation between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour, which had been threatening to cause long-lasting damage to the sport and its reputation.
Al-Rumayyan was invited to testify before the United States Senate in June but he declined due to scheduling issues, as did LIV Golf CEO…