Greg Norman broke his silence to criticize the PGA Tour’s “deafening” “hypocrisy”.
Norman, the figurehead of the controversial Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series, spoke to Fox News. A Nation with Brian Kilmeade as the week of the US Open drew to a close.
He fired back at LIV Golf’s many PGA-affiliated critics, including commentator Bob Costas’ recent statement that Norman and the other golfers he’s helped lure away (like Phil Mickelson) are taking “blood money.”
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“Look, I’m disappointed that people are going this route, honestly,” Norman said, according to USA TODAY Sports. “If you want to look at it in a prism, why does the PGA Tour have 23 sponsors doing over $40 billion worth of deals with Saudi Arabia? Why is it OK for the sponsors? Will [PGA Tour commissioner] Jay Monahan going to each and every one of these CEOs of the 23 companies investing in Saudi Arabia and suspending and banning them?
“The hypocrisy in all of this is so loud. It’s deafening.”
He added: “We’re not going anywhere; We want to do the right thing for the fans, for the players and for our commercial business model.
“We will strive forward. And there were many obstacles, no question. The PGA Tour has thrown a lot of obstacles in our way, but you know what? We worked on it because golf is a force for good.”
The Saudi-backed LIV golf circuit also plans to formally apply to be included in the global ranking system, Norman said.
LIV Commissioner Norman told Fox News that the controversial breakaway series has a “compelling reason” for its tournaments to receive ranking points.
Whether LIV Golf’s events will be recognized by the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) system could be critical to the future of the Breakaway Series.
Allowing players to earn leaderboard points at LIV events will make it easier for golfers on the circuit to qualify for the four major golf tournaments.
Norman informed Fox that LIV plans to submit an application for inclusion in the rankings shortly.
“We are applying for OWGR points. We’ll probably submit our application over the weekend if not Monday,” Norman said on Fox.
“And it’s a very compelling application. We’ve been working very, very closely with the technical committee to understand all the components you need to apply for this.”
The emergence of LIV Golf this year has thrown the sport into an uproar as several top PGA Tour players have opted to switch to the Saudi Arabia-funded series, which boasts some of the richest purses in golf history.
However, the PGA Tour has taken a zero-tolerance stance on the series, with Commissioner Jay Monahan last week suspending 17 former or current Tour players over the move.
Monahan is one of the eight members of the OWGR Board of Directors that will decide on LIV’s application for the ranking system.
Norman told Fox he believes Monahan should “opt out” of any vote on LIV’s entry, citing a television interview the PGA Tour chief gave last week in which he defended his decision to issue suspensions.
“It’s very interesting and it’s sad to have that extra pressure because our tour is a good tour,” Norman said.
“It’s supported, it has an incredible field. Our point should be that once we get the OWGR points out, everything else will take care of itself.
LIV Golf, funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, has drawn sharp criticism from human rights groups, saying the series is an attempt to improve the kingdom’s image through sport.