A bunch headlined by Greg Norman is the most recent new enterprise making ready to supply an alternate league to the dominant PGA Tour in skilled golf.
On Friday, Norman, 66, who’s a a number of main champion and was the world’s top-ranked participant for greater than 5 years, introduced his affiliation with LIV Golf Investments, whose main shareholder is the Public Investment Fund, an funding arm of Saudi Arabia’s authorities.
Norman’s group has dedicated to stage an extra 10 occasions on the Asian Tour within the subsequent decade. However the enterprise’s targets are for a outstanding worldwide presence, with play starting as early as subsequent yr.
“That is solely the start,” Norman mentioned in an announcement. “LIV Golf Investments has secured a significant capital dedication that will probably be used to create additive new alternatives throughout worldwide skilled golf.”
The announcement comes solely weeks after a bunch led by the Public Funding Fund bought the Premier League soccer workforce Newcastle United after a yearslong pursuit. That deal was almost derailed by the fund’s involvement; critics of Saudi Arabia say the investments in sports activities by the PIF are merely an effort by the dominion to obscure accusations of human rights abuses.
For greater than 25 years, Norman has hoped to create a world golf tour as a rival to the PGA Tour. Within the Nineties, he proposed a world golf tour and tried to lure prime gamers to play in a group of small discipline occasions that will have enlarged purses. The PGA Tour commissioner on the time, Tim Finchem, succeeded in warding off Norman’s tour, which the PGA Tour considered as undesirable competitors to its circuit.
Since then, a number of variations of a world tour that will problem the PGA Tour have been proposed with no important change in elite skilled golf’s panorama. The newest was the Premier Golf League, primarily based in London, which had a plan for greater than 15 tournaments and restricted fields of 48 gamers that will start in 2023. A number of PGA Tour gamers, most notably Rory McIlroy, who was then No. 1 within the males’s worldwide rankings, have been emphatic of their disinterest within the new league. The PGA Tour additionally knowledgeable its gamers that in the event that they performed within the upstart league they might not be permitted to compete on the PGA Tour.
Norman, identified for his daring play and attacking model — his nickname is “the shark” — is undeterred.
“The Asian Tour is a sleeping large and we share ambition to develop the sequence and unlock what we consider is important untapped potential,” Norman mentioned. “We see our promotion of those new occasions as an important first step in supporting rising markets, creating a brand new platform, wealthy with enjoying alternatives that create precious participant pathways.”