Saudi-backed golf series: Greg Norman denies waging a WAR with the PGA Tour

"It's for the betterment of the game of golf, pure and simple."

Ben Smith's picture
Thu, 4 Nov 2021

Saudi-backed golf series: Greg Norman denies waging a WAR with the PGA Tour

Greg Norman has denied claims he has declared war on the PGA Tour. 

Ever since the idea was touted as far back as 2014 we have been waiting for the day Saudi Arabian money would flood into the game.

It already has of course, but Norman has been banging the drum about a separate golf league for the best part of three decades.

Now a 10-event series will happen under the umbrella of the Asian Tour and as you would expect Norman has been defending the plans. 

There are of course rumours that Norman has a secondary league in the planning of which he will be appointed the commissioner. 

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One of the common criticisms thrown at the Great White Shark is that he bears a grudge with the PGA Tour going back to the 1990s. 

Norman previously claimed he was frustrated that he didn't have the opportunity to play as much as he wanted to in other countries.

Larger appearance fees and bigger prize pools had to be put aside as the PGA Tour made it so players had to play a minimum number of tournaments per year. 

The proposed World Golf Tour fizzled out in 1994 when it was clear Norman did not have the support from his fellow players.

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Norman gave a wide-ranging interview with Golf Digest this week where he explained the plans, deflected some questions and defended the Saudis. 

Now the 66-year-old has told the Australian Golf Digest he has said this is not an attack on the PGA Tour. 

The PGA Tour has yet to publicly comment on the development. 

"No, it’s not that way at all," he told them. "I can categorically say this is not a direct attack on the PGA Tour. It's for the betterment of the game of golf, pure and simple.

"There's been a lot of commentary about this being all about me getting even with the tour. This idea has been around for a long time."

Norman has been named as the CEO of LIV Golf Investments who will receive money from the Public Investment Fund (the sovereign wealth fund of Saudia Arabia). 

They reportedly have assets of at least $500 billion and have funded a number of sporting events. 

Most recently they purchased Newcastle United in the Premier League. 

Critics say these moves in world sport simply "sportswashing" as the Saudi government attempts to rebrand itself to detract from their appalling human rights record. 

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