Greg Norman relishes 'DISRUPTOR' accolade and LIV Golf traction in 2022

The LIV Golf Tour was rated as the 'Biggest Sports Business Story' of 2022, while Greg Norman and Yasir Al-Rumayyan were ranked in the 'Most Influential: Dealmakers & Disrupters'.

Greg Norman relishes 'DISRUPTOR' accolade and LIV Golf traction in 2022
Greg Norman relishes 'DISRUPTOR' accolade and LIV Golf traction in 2022

You can say what you like about the LIV Golf Tour. It has certainly made a splash in not just the sporting world, but the world of mainstream news too.

This week, LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman and Governor of the Public Investment Fund Yasir Al-Rumayyan were named on a list of the 'Most Influential: Dealmakers & Disrupters' by Sports Business Journal.

Other names on this list included tennis legend Serena Williams, Chelsea Football Club owner Todd Boehly, NBA icon Lebron James and Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin.

The LIV Golf Tour began at the start of June with its first event at Centurion near London. Since its inaugural competition, the rebel series has recruited the likes of Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau.

Along with many more, these players were suspended by the PGA Tour and commissioner Jay Monahan has made it clear that there is no way back for them to the US circuit.

This led to an antitrust lawsuit being filed against the PGA Tour by 11 golfers, but the case currently only includes three golfers and LIV Golf itself. This trial isn't expected to begin until 2024.

Professional golf has been taken to a world not seen before as a result of the start-up league funded by the PIF of Saudi Arabia, which has sourced much criticism because of the Kingdom's human rights record.

LIV Golf may not have completed everything on the checklist yet such as gaining Official World Golf Ranking points or securing a mainstream television deal, but in terms of disruption, Norman and Al-Rumayyan can put a big tick in that box.

Norman hasn't just got this to brag about. A poll from the Sports Business Journal rated the LIV Golf Tour as the 'Biggest Sports Business Story' of 2022.

The story was rated higher than the effect of NIL (name, image and likeness rights) on college sports, the rising impact of streaming platforms and the return of full-capacity venues.

It is certainly a story that crossed over into general news because of the links with human rights. LIV Golf has associated itself with a nation reported as being responsible for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and a number of abuses towards women, migrant groups and the LGBTQ community.

Norman himself and the players have often declined to entertain questions concerning their ethical considerations when making the switch from their respective tours, frequently stating they are not politicians.

At the first event in Hertfordshire six months ago, one reporter (Rob Harris, formerly of AP) asked a particularly poignant question which stumped Dustin Johnson and Graeme McDowell at the event's first press conference.

"You talked about how the series is a force for good and the journey you've been told about Saudi Arabia. How is that journey helping the women oppressed in Saudi Arabia; the migrant groups, their rights violated; the LGBTQ individuals who are criminalised; the families of the 81 men who were executed in March and those being bombed in Yemen?"

As for the golf, LIV are still yet to venture from free broadcasts on their own website and on YouTube with fluctuating audiences both online and at the events.

As we have been told, LIV Golf isn't going away, but its top rating in the world of sports business stories can be explained by a culmination of professional sports and political/ethical controversy.



Sponsored Posts