Norman, who was on a trip to Washington as part of a PR effort to sell lawmakers about the benefits of the PGA Tour’s new contender, was also questioned during a Republican Study Committee meeting on Saudi funding for his league.
LIV Golf is backed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) – a sovereign wealth fund headed by Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia – and has pledged to award $250 million in total prize money.
Rep. Chip Roy, a Texas Republican, noted he didn’t utter words with Norman, who told the Republican the point of his tour was “competition” — an assertion that Roy thought was “nonsense,” though he said I’d be happy to sit down and talk with Norman More about it.
“Don’t sell us, ‘it’s just about the competition’ when they don’t answer the $1 billion to buy PGA players resulting in $1 billion in PR for Saudi Arabia,” Roy told CNN. It may violate the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Representative Jim Banks, chair of the Republican Study Committee, told CNN that it was a “lively discussion” and that Norman in general was “well received by our members.”
The Indiana Republican noted that Norman asked to meet with his group, which holds regular meetings with outside guests.
“Some members addressed Saudi-backed financing. This came up in the discussion, and Mr. Norman addressed those issues,” the banks said. He explained how the investment fund was created and the other investments they made in the United States. He promised to sit down with the members individually.
Banks said there was “no request” from Norman for Congress to act on behalf of the League and that the purpose of the meeting was “public relations” more than anything else.
Banks added: “If Tiger Woods wanted to come and talk about PGA and his issues with LIV Golf, we’d love for him to come too.”
LIV Golf players were not given permission to play in this week’s Presidents Cup, a biennial competition between an international team and an American team against each other, which kicks off Thursday.
“I would say the major disruption is probably an understatement,” Immelman told CNN Sport’s Don Riddle. “It was definitely an interesting process.”
But opponent captain Davis Love III arguably has more depth at his disposal than Immelmann, who lamented the absence of some “great players” from the squad.
The international team has an unfavorable record in the Presidents Cup having won only once in 13 editions of the competition.
“Over the past year or so, as these fractures started to occur (between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour), every player on our team knew exactly the rules and knew the decisions they had to make in order to have a chance to play in the President’s Cup.”
Asked if he would miss the likes of Smith, Neiman and Ostwezen, Immelmann said: “These guys are great players. They are players who have played Cup Chiefs. They have experience being in that cauldron, and they understand what it takes. But as I said, as I said, they knew The decisions they have to make in order to qualify for the Presidents Cup.
“All of this information was part of the decision-making process. So the communication was very open. Everyone knew exactly where they stood and made the decisions they thought were best for them, and I respect their decisions.”
This year’s Presidents Cup takes place at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina, and concludes on Sunday.
CNN’s Don Riddle and Jack Pantock contributed to this report.