EXISTENTIAL THREAT?

LIV Golf no longer prepared to negotiate with PGA Tour, says Norman

Norman said his Saudi-backed series was designed to live alongside the existing golf tours, and he has made several attempts to negotiate with the PGA.

In Summary

• He told The Australian newspaper: “This notion we’re trying to destroy tours is not true. The PGA Tour is trying to destroy us, it’s as simple as that. 

• DP World Tour boss Keith Pelley last week criticised LIV, and defended his own tour, which is working closely with the PGA Tour to see off the “existential threat” posed by LIV to the sport.

Chief executive of LIV Golf Investments Greg Norman during a press conference
Chief executive of LIV Golf Investments Greg Norman during a press conference
Image: FILE

LIV Golf chief executive Greg Norman has accused the rival PGA Tour of “trying to destroy” his series.

Norman said his Saudi-backed series was designed to live alongside the existing golf tours, and he has made several attempts to negotiate with the PGA.

However, the Australian, 67, said all his approaches have been rebuffed.

He told The Australian newspaper: “This notion we’re trying to destroy tours is not true. The PGA Tour is trying to destroy us, it’s as simple as that. The PGA Tour has not sat down and had a conversation with myself or any of my investors.

“We tried awfully hard, I know I did personally for the past year. When we knew we were never going to hear from them, we just decided to go.

“We have no interest in sitting down with them, to be honest with you, because our product is working.”

The lucrative series is offering $25m (£21.7m) purses for 54-hole tournaments and has attracted several high-profile names including Open champion and world number two Cameron Smith, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau.

They have all been suspended by the PGA Tour for taking part in the rebel series. The Europe-based DP World Tour is engaged in a legal battle to see if it can similarly suspend its members who have switched to the LIV series.

DP World Tour boss Keith Pelley last week criticised LIV, and defended his own tour, which is working closely with the PGA Tour to see off the “existential threat” posed by LIV to the sport.

“The Saudis remain determined to set up a new series outside of the current ecosystem. That decision has created the conflict we see today and we chose to partner with the leading tour in the game,” Pelley explained earlier this month.

Norman, though, said LIV Golf was not a “breakaway” series, insisting it “was always built around being inclusive”.

LIV has also been accused of being a vehicle for “sportswashing” Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.

Protestors gathered at its most recent event in Boston but when asked about their presence - and the criticism - Norman said: “I don’t even pay attention to that, to be honest with you.

“All I can tell you is I’m here for the game of golf. I focus on building the best league we can.”

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