Greg Norman has admitted that some of his friendships have soured as result of his involvement with LIV Golf.
The CEO of the organisation was speaking on the People I (Mostly) Admire podcast when he made the revelation to host Steven Levitt, saying: “Some of my dear friends don’t even speak to me because of this. That’s their choice. If you don’t want to talk to me again, happy days.”
The organisation has been mired in controversy since its launch last year, with accusations that the Saudi-funded circuit is being used to sportswash the kingdom’s human rights record. Norman also found himself at the centre of controversy in the weeks leading up to last June’s opening tournament when he said of the murder of journalist Jamal Khasoggi, “we all make mistakes” – a comment that drew a backlash from human rights organisation Amnesty International.
Aside from those issues, the introduction of the PGA Tour rival has created a seismic disruption to the game, with the more established Tour suspending players signing for LIV Golf, and uncertainty over their futures on the DP World Tour, the Ryder Cup and in the Majors.
There have also been indirect repercussions, with the PGA Tour and DP World Tour strengthening their strategic alliance amid the emergence of LIV Golf, which has led some to claim that the PGA Tour now wields far too much power over its European counterpart. With courtroom battles also ongoing, it is safe to say LIV Golf has helped create arguably the most tumultuous period in the game’s history.
Despite the controversies, Norman admitted he went into the venture with his eyes wide open and defended the disruption, likening it to another breakaway over five decades ago. He said: “Ah, 100 percent. And it is the biggest thing to ever happen to the game of golf in over 53 years.
“And when you think back over time, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus and a few others broke away from the PGA of America that the PGA Tour. Why did they do that? They do it as players, right? All their independent rights – to compete. This is no different than what were doing today.”
LIV Golf returns this week with the first of its $405m 14-tournament League season at El Camaleon Golf Club in Mexico. That represents a significant expansion on its inaugural season, which featured just eight tournaments.
As well as the extra investment and number of events, LIV has also agreed a multi-year TV deal with the CW Network and made six new signings in preparation for…
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