Aug 25, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Saudi-backed LIV Golf hires lobbying firm

Photo of people watching a golfer swing, with a sign saying LIV Golf hanging in the back
Patrick Reed of 4 Aces GC plays his shot during day three of the LIV Golf Invitational - Bedminster at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster on July 31, 2022 in Bedminster, New Jersey. Photo: Charles Laberge/LIV Golf via Getty Images

The Saudi-backed LIV Golf has hired a lobbying firm to advance its interests in D.C., lobbying registration filings show.

Why it matters: LIV remains highly controversial, partly due to conflicts with the PGA Tour and partly due to its source of funding — the Saudi Arabian government. Critics have alleged the country is using golf to boost its global image.

Driving the news:: LIV has hired Hobart Hallaway & Quayle Ventures, the firm of former Rep. Benjamin Quayle (R-Ariz.), to lobby on its behalf.

  • The firm's work will focus on "education and issues related to the game of professional golf in the United States and abroad," as well as "[p]rotecting the rights of professional golfers to play when and where they choose," according to the filing.
  • Quayle, who served in Congress from 2011 to 2013 before losing re-election due to redistricting and controversy over his ties to a salacious website, will lead lobbying efforts alongside Rashid Hallaway, a former legislative assistant for former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.).

What they're saying: "HHQ Ventures is proud to advocate on LIV Golf’s behalf and is aligned with its mission to modernize and grow the game of golf on a global basis," Hallaway said in a statement from the firm that referred further questions to LIV Golf.

  • LIV did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The big picture: LIV Golf, which is running its inaugural season from June 9 through Oct. 30, has lured some of the PGA Tour's top career earners. Five events are based in the U.S., while two are slated to take place at courses owned by former President Trump.

  • Trump defended the golf tour after 9/11 survivors and their families called on him to cancel the LIV tournament hosted at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf course.
  • The PGA Tour has suspended the 17 players who took part in LIV's inaugural event, and any players who take part in future events will face the same punishment.
  • Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and nine other golfers from the LIV circuit have since filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour in a bid to challenge the golfers' suspensions.

Go deeper: Golf descends into chaos

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