Greg Norman: LIV Golf Investments CEO Says Series Golf Is No Threat to PGA Tour and Kicks Off Saudi Government Relations | Golf News – NewsRaiser

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Greg Norman told Jimmy Weir that LIV Golf Investments is independent and will not be subject to the Saudi government or Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud.

Greg Norman told Jimmy Weir that LIV Golf Investments is independent and will not be subject to the Saudi government or Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud.

Greg Norman says the new sponsored golf series backed by the Saudis is not trying to destroy the PGA Tour, instead he hopes the new project will give players more options and grow the game.

Norman is the managing director of LIV Golf Investments, which will hold its inaugural tournament with a record $25 million value at the Centurion Club near St Albans from June 9-11.

In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports News Norman Jimmy Ware also defended the source of the $2 billion in financial support from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, insisting “I don’t respond to Saudi Arabia” amid accusations of “athlete rape” given the country’s human rights record.

Among the golfers who have already applied for permission to take part in the Centurion opening ceremony are six-time champion Phil Mickelson, England star Lee Westwood and Richard Bland. Others of interest are said to be Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Martin Kaymer, but Norman declined to describe the LIV series as an “escape” tour.

Lee Westwood told me that several players have requested release from the PGA Tour and DP World Tour to play in the new Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series.

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Lee Westwood told me that several players have requested release from the PGA Tour and DP World Tour to play in the new Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series.

Lee Westwood told me that several players have requested release from the PGA Tour and DP World Tour to play in the new Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series.

“My goal for 45 years has been to develop golf”

Norman wouldn’t confirm any participants, but said he was “very proud” of the number of top golfers LIV has to sign.

“The releases have been submitted, we will see what happens for the European Tour and the PGA Tour, but I can tell you this: 36 of the top 150 are playing, there are 19 of the top 100, six of the top 50 in this first event, which is impressive.

Phil Mickelson (left), pictured here speaking with Greg Norman, is a potential participant in the new Saudi-backed series.

Phil Mickelson (left), pictured here speaking with Greg Norman, is a potential participant in the new Saudi-backed series.

“And impressive because there was a lot of white noise saying the players wouldn’t even show up.

“I am very proud that the players made the decision as independent entrepreneurs, to make the decision to go golf where they want to play golf.

“I am very proud that we gave them this opportunity. As a player, my goal for 45 years has been to develop the game of golf for players, fans and stakeholders around the world.

Norman: I do not respond to Saudi Arabia

Norman said he understood people’s concerns about the source of the money funding the tour and human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, but added that the country was undergoing a “cultural transformation from within” and that it specifically had nothing to do with the government.

“100 percent [I understand]Norman said. “What happened with that is reprehensible [Jamal] Khashoggi. Acknowledge it, talk about it.

Golf Channel's Eamonn Lynch says Lee Westwood was complicit in sports washing after he requested his release from the PGA Tour to play in the first Saudi-backed golf event.

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Golf Channel’s Eamonn Lynch says Lee Westwood was complicit in sports washing after he requested his release from the PGA Tour to play in the first Saudi-backed golf event.

Golf Channel’s Eamonn Lynch says Lee Westwood was complicit in sports washing after he requested his release from the PGA Tour to play in the first Saudi-backed golf event.

But if you go back to Saudi Arabia, they are doing a cultural change from within to change that. They don’t want that stigma to remain there.

“The generation of kids I see in leadership today, they don’t want that stigma to spread across generations and their kids. They want to change this culture and they change it.

“And you know how they do it? Golf.

Greg Norman insists he is not accountable to the Saudi government in his role as CEO of LIV Golf Investments

Greg Norman insists he is not accountable to the Saudi government in his role as CEO of LIV Golf Investments

Norman added, “I’m not going to get into politics, I don’t know what the Saudi government is doing. I don’t want to go into that. Every country has a cross to bear.”

“They are not my superiors. We are independent. I do not respond to Saudi Arabia. I do not respond to their government nor to Mohammed bin Salman. [Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud].

“I answer to my board of directors, and Mohammed bin Salman is not in that. Quite simply. So this calculation is wrong.”

“We’re not trying to ruin the PGA Tour.”

The new LIV Golf Invitational Series includes plans for a 14-champion World Super League within two years, but Norman was once again keen to stress that this could continue in tandem with the PGA Tour.

“We’re not dissidents,” Norman said. “We are adding to the golf ecosystem.

“When players understand that, they have more confidence in the voice they have and the choice they have.

After PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said the tour is about

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After PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said the tour is about “legacy, not influence” following rumors of a Saudi-backed golf league, Jaime Diaz is researching what this golfer needs to keep fans interested.

After PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said the tour is about “legacy, not influence” following rumors of a Saudi-backed golf league, Jaime Diaz is researching what this golfer needs to keep fans interested.

“Isn’t competition a good thing?” he added. Isn’t competition the best thing to do in sports? You don’t have the best football team without competition.

“There has been no competition against the PGA Tour for 53 years, so the monopolist will sit back and walk away: I have to protect what I have.

“What are they afraid of? We don’t require anything from the players. They can play one, two, four events, and they can play whatever they want to play. It’s their choice.”

“Their commitment to the league in 2024 is that they own part of a franchise. They will be able to say: OK, I want to be replaced by ‘X’. They will create value within this team. The value that does not exist today for any player anywhere in the world.

“It is up to them to make that decision. Personally, I would like to have this opportunity.

“We are not trying to destroy the Tour. 100% no. I will fight to the death over this. I am still a life member of the PGA Tour.”

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