The PGA Tour paid a law firm nearly a quarter of a million dollars to lobby Congress and President Biden in what is being called a “classic case of a monopolistic tactics to crush a competitor.”
DLA Piper LLC has been paid $190,000 by the PGA Tour so far this year, according to lobbying disclosures, discovered as part of a report by Business Insider.
In 2021, the line item “Saudi Golf League proposals” began to appear under DLA Piper’s specific lobbying matters.
The PGA Tour increased its spending on lobbying, from $70,000 in Q1 to $120,000 in Q2, just as LIV Golf was launching its series in London, then Portland.
According to public filings, the PGA Tour has spent $190,000 in 2022 to “lobby Congress and the Biden administration” on several issues, including what they itemized as “Saudi Golf League proposals.”
In exchange for the payment, DLA Piper LLP lobbied powerful members of the House, Senate and the Executive Office on issues related to tax legislation, the CARES Act and American Rescue Plan, and the LIV Golf league.
Initially showing up on disclosures in Q2 of 2021, when reports first surfaced about a Saudi-funded tour offering million-dollar signing bonuses to top-ranked stars, “Saudi Golf League proposals” has been a constant lobbying request from the PGA Tour.
When reached by Business Insider, the PGA Tour referred its reporter to DLA Piper, which then declined to comment about its work for the U.S. tour as well as discussions with government officials.
Pro Golf Weekly can confirm that it has launched its own investigation into lobbying efforts and has a laser focus on House member Chip Roy (R-Texas).
The rise of LIV Golf has fueled selective outrage over what’s known as “sportswashing,” wherein authoritarian regimes like Saudi Arabia (but somehow not China) attempt to clean their image by funding sports.
As noted by the Business Insider report, “The PGA Tour, of course, also has business interests in maintaining the status quo, as marquee names —whether players or perhaps, someday, sponsors — leaving the established Tour could ultimately hurt its bottom line.”
Ironically, it’s this lobbying against a competitor which triggered the Department of Justice’s investigation into the PGA Tour to determine if it has “engaged in anti-competitive behavior.”
As noted, prior to this report from BI, Pro Golf Weekly had reached out to the office of Congressman Roy (R-Texas) to see if his calls for investigations into LIV Golf were related to any lobbying efforts.
The question is: with America’s border wide open, crime soaring and the economy heading into a recession, why in the world would a legislator be focused on the business of golf, and in particular, defending a billion-dollar monopoly like the PGA Tour… unless it were the result of lobbying?
Roy’s office did not return multiple messages left by Pro Golf Weekly.
Following the release of this report, a source emailed, and said, “It’s pretty clear now where Chip Roy’s marching orders came from: DLA Piper via the PGA Tour.”
Pro Golf Weekly has reached out to Roy once again and asked specifically if he was lobbied by DLA Piper.
We have yet to hear back from the Congressman.
Editor’s Note: The Congressman’s office has reached out to Pro Golf Weekly and we will update this story with their comments.