Greg Norman opened up to Piers Morgan on the plight of LIV Golf, responding to opposition to the Saudi-backed series displayed by the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy.
Norman has described the opposition to his new breakaway tour as “deafening hypocrisy,” citing an alleged relationship between the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia.
Speaking to Piers Morgan on the Uncensored Show, Norman passionately defended the LIV Golf Tour and asserted that one of its main goals was to provide an alternative opportunity for the top players.
The controversial new series has attracted the likes of Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka with deals worth up to $200 million. The tour is bankrolled by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia which is reportedly worth around $600 billion.
LIV Golf has come under intense scrutiny for its relationship with the PIF, but as he has done since the first LIV event at the start of June, Norman maintained that “golf is a force for good.”
The 67-year-old revealed he has lost friends for his involvement in golf’s new movement and he declared shame on the R&A for not inviting him to the Champions Dinner at The 150th Open Championship.
He believes LIV hasn’t caused the “animosity” with the PGA Tour that currently exists and he appeared astounded at what he calls “hypocrisy” of the longstanding American circuit.
“The hypocrisy coming out of this is so deafening it’s ridiculous. The PGA Tour has title sponsors that have a great relationship, a working relationship, for a commercial opportunity with the Saudi Government, with PIF,” Norman said.
“PIF has done a lot of indirect and direct investment in a multitude of opportunities. There’s probably, here in this country (USA), one-third of this country are the benefactors of that. I don’t understand why it is that way sadly.
“I’ve got an idea – because we’re going in and challenging the monopolies, which is the PGA Tour. It’s been the one place to play golf for the last 53 years. All we’ve done is come in and shown another opportunity, another added opportunity, for the players to make their decision.”
Since the emergence of the Saudi-backed series, the PGA Tour has enhanced its 2023 schedule. There will be 12 Elevated Events with average prize purses of $20 million as well as a $100 million prize pool for the Player Impact Program.
Norman described this as money “that’s popped out of nowhere” in this interview. The LIV Golf Series has prize purses of $25 million at each event with the individual winners receiving $4 million.
One of the PGA Tour’s most staunch defenders and LIV Golf’s biggest critics is Rory McIlroy. After he won the FedEx Cup for the third time, the Northern Irishman said that LIV has “ripped apart” men’s professional golf.
Just as he did in August, Norman alluded to McIlroy supposedly asking for “sizeable appearance fees” to play in Saudi Arabia.
“Rory, happy days, he can do what he wants to do. If he’s comfortable over there doing that, he’s an independent contractor, he can. If Rory wants to go to the Middle East and get appearance money to play in tournaments – happy days, go play in those Rory, that’s your choice,” Norman added.
“Don’t begrudge the other players for making a decision, that is a rightful decision under their independent contractual rights, to go and do it. It’s just a shame that people have taken this stance, when you look back over a period of time, they’ve pretty much done the same thing themselves.”
“Do what you want to do… but don’t begrudge the other players for making their decision.”
— Piers Morgan Uncensored (@PiersUncensored) September 26, 2022
Article originally appeared on: Golfmagic.com