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Tim Kaine on PGA-LIV deal: ‘Disappointed,’ but he has ‘higher priorities’ than pro golf

Chris Graham
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A U.S. Senate committee has launched an investigation into the proposed merger of the PGA Tour and the Saudi Arabia government-funded LIV Golf that seems focused on challenging the non-profit Tour’s tax-exempt standing.

In letters to the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal, the chair of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, noted Saudi Arabia’s “deeply disturbing human rights record at home and abroad” and its stated intention to “use investments in sports to further the Saudi government’s strategic objectives.”

Virginia Democrat Tim Kaine was asked about the PGA Tour-LIV Golf matter on a call with members of the Virginia news media on Wednesday.

He admitted to having “higher priorities than the PGA,” but weighed in on the investigation, and the PGA-LIV merger deal.

“I was extremely disappointed when I heard the news because the PGA, I thought, was taking a principled stand, and I was proud of them for doing so. And it turned out they fooled me. I was wrong. It was a principled stand, but that was just a negotiating posture to get to a deal,” Kaine said.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has come under intense scrutiny, including from PGA Tour pros, for his role in the deal, which stunned the sports world, given the acrimony between the rival tours that included a flurry of lawsuits.

The Justice Department had already been investigating the PGA Tour over its efforts to try to deter pros from defecting to LIV Golf, and is expected to examine the PGA-LIV deal from an antitrust perspective.

Outside of Blumenthal, there doesn’t seem to be a big appetite in Congress to get involved politically, as Kaine made clear on Wednesday.

“I’m very, very disappointed in them, and there are discussions about what might be done, and I’m sort of participant in some of those, but I’m writing the defense bill for the United States right now, and I’m working on other things that, frankly, are much higher priority for Virginians than this badly tainted professional golf situation, so it’s not yet clear how much I’m going to get involved in this. I’ll probably turn my attention to pondering that once the work on the defense bill is done in the Armed Services Committee,” Kaine said.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].