Woods and McIlroy should be thankful for LIV, says Norman – Sydney Morning Herald
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Greg Norman says Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy should be “thanking LIV Golf” for forcing the PGA Tour to combat the threat of the Saudi-backed league and pledged to sign more top-50 players before next year’s league.
On the same day he announced Adelaide as the host of Australia’s first LIV event in April, Norman fired a missive at the PGA Tour’s two biggest advocates, claiming they wouldn’t be enjoying improved conditions if not for the world golf’s upstart league.
“The players of the PGA Tour are the benefactors of what LIV has done being the leader on a new delivery mechanism,” Norman said. “Every PGA Tour player should be thanking LIV, including Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.
“The PIP [player impact] program wouldn’t have been increased without LIV. Prizemoney wouldn’t have been increased without LIV.
“I’m proud of the fact the PGA Tour has had to react to LIV. What they’ve done within the PGA Tour within a short space of time is testament to what competition is all about.”
The PGA Tour has announced its top players will contest 20 elevated events for greater prizemoney this season after Norman made substantial inroads in his first year at the helm of LIV, which counts Australia’s world No.3 Cameron Smith as its prized recruit.
LIV Golf chief executive Greg Norman has announced Adelaide as the host of the first Australian event in 2023.Credit:Getty
Norman, who fronted a press conference at Adelaide Oval on Monday to confirm The Grange Golf Club would host a LIV event for the next four years, is intent on adding better quality players to his 48-man roster for 2023.
Australia’s only US Masters winner, Adam Scott, has long been linked with a switch to LIV, but Norman wouldn’t speculate on which signatures he was hoping to land.
“We will end up signing more players, for sure,” he said. “There’s a lot of interest because of the success of what happened this year.
“These players still speak to each other. They don’t hate each other like is being said in some narrative in the media. They’re still locker-room mates and play golf together.”
Pressed on whether he expected to sign top-50 players for next year, Norman would only answer: “Yes.”
The South Australian government made a multi-million dollar contribution to bring the LIV event to The Grange, the venue for Norman’s first professional win in 1976.
The tournament is tipped to carry a $37 million purse, which far outstrips the Australian PGA ($2 million), which will feature Smith and a host of star-studded locals in Brisbane next week. Australia’s LIV event will be held on April 21-23, two weeks after The Masters at Augusta National.
Norman’s focus will now turn to securing a TV deal for his league and continuing to lobby for official world rankings points as his troupe watch their positions slide given their 54-hole no-cut tournaments don’t count towards the standings.
On the same day Smith urged the majors to allow the LIV defectors to play in their events next year, Norman said he would welcome the sight of one of his players winning a big four tournament next year.
“If there is a LIV player who wins a major next year, it goes to show how we work within the ecosystem,” Norman said.
“These players are the best and they made a decision to come to LIV from a generational wealth opportunity and it has given them the freedom to play other tours without being restricted to one. They have choices now.”
Reigning The Open champion Smith will headline LIV’s first foray into Australia after a debut season in which the organisation signed former major winners Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka from the PGA Tour.
It will be the best field for a golf event in Australia since Tiger Woods led the United States to a Presidents Cup victory over the International side at Royal Melbourne in 2019.
Adelaide will be one stop on the 14-event LIV league in 2023, which will feature Smith as captain of an all-Australian team boasting six-time PGA Tour winner Marc Leishman and Matt Jones, twice a winner of the Australian Open.
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