LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman Pleads for Majors to Stay “Switzerland” for Golfers
Norman also offered up some advice for the Official World Golf Ranking
Speaking with The Sydney Morning Herald, Australian LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman said that it is his hope that the organizers of professional golf’s four majors — the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and U.S. PGA Championship — keep the tournaments “Switzerland” and allow the golfers who play in his Saudi-backed circuit to compete.
“If [the majors] ban players because of the PGA Tour, they have no right to tell each of those majors what to do. They’re independent organizations. Yes, certain members sit on their board. I get it and I understand that,” he said. “[But] if you were a broadcaster you would be questioning the value of your investment for television if you don’t have the strongest field in each and every one of them. I hope they stay Switzerland.”
As of now, none of the major tournaments have banned LIV golfers from competing. However, it has become more difficult for LIV’s players to qualify to compete in the majors as the Official World Golf Ranking has yet to recognize their scores from the upstart tour, which has led some of golf’s top stars to plummet in the world rankings. Norman, who has gone after the stance of the OWGR in the past, did so again while speaking with The Herald.
“It makes OWGR look obsolete if they don’t [accept LIV],” he said. “If they wake up at the end of the year and Dustin Johnson is 102 in the world, is that not a laughing stock to the OWGR? There’s two ways they can go: they can either fold, or they include LIV into OWGR. We’ll move on. Everyone’s happy after that.”
Perhaps not everybody as certain members of the PGA Tour have hinted they may boycott majors moving forward if LIV defectors are allowed to compete. That said, there’s no doubt the television networks that have paid for the rights to broadcast golf’s majors want all of the sport’s stars competing whether they play for LIV Golf, the PGA Tour or another circuit.
In an interview with ESPN 1000 Chicago ahead of the fourth LIV Golf Invitational Series event outside of the Windy City, Norman also offered some insight into how his tour, which is currently available to view on its website and YouTube, is progressing with potential broadcast partners.
“All I can tell you is that the interest coming across our plate right now is enormous,” he said. “We’re talking to four different networks — and live conversations where offers are being put on the table. Because [the networks] can see the value of our product. They can see what we’re delivering.”
The networks may be the only ones who are seeing what LIV Golf is delivering as sparse attendance and low viewership have been hallmarks of the new series despite the huge payouts the series is handing out to players.
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