Golf icon Greg Norman will put aside his successful business to become the commissioner of a rumored and rumored discussion that hopes to start playing in 2022..
Norman, 66, announced his association with Liv Golf Investments, backed by the Public Investment Fund, which operates on behalf of the government of Saudi Arabia. Norman will be the company’s chief operating officer, as well as commissioner of the new league.
As part of the announcement, Norman said that Liv Golf Investments, which will invest in various golf companies, has committed a nine-figure sum to help the Asian Tour organize 10 more events over the next 10 years.
âIt’s the biggest decision of my life,â Norman said in an interview.
Norman will continue to be based in South Florida leading the new business while keeping a hand in his golf course design business.
“What should I do with the Greg Norman Company?” It has 12 divisions. I can’t do both. I can’t put two feet in both office buildings and make a 100% effort, “he said.” So I decided to retire from Greg Norman Company. For the first time in my life, I am handing over the reins to other people to run my business.
âIt was a big, big decision because that’s how much I believe in it. It’s how much I believe in the people who have been behind it to get it to a point where we’re taking it now and at a point where we’ll be living and having the first ball in the air in the [spring] next year. “
Norman, a 20-time PGA Tour winner that has won two major titles and won 88 times, was unwilling to disclose the name or other details or whether any players have signed up for the new league. He did not specify the length of his contract but said he was on board for a “four to seven year appointment”. In 1993-94, when Norman was at the peak of his playing career, which saw him place No. 1 in the world for 331 weeks, he came up with an idea for a World Golf Tour that would see the best players come together in a series of big budget and small scope events. Tim Finchem, commissioner of the PGA Tour at the time, successfully fought the creation of the rival circuit, which Norman was supporting at the time and now could have worked if players had been allowed to compete on both circuits.
This will remain an issue going forward with the launch of a new league, various iterations of which have been discussed and launched for several years. This company is not part of a previously disclosed Premier Golf League, which is based in London and has a plan for 18 tournaments and 48 player pitches to start in 2023.
Liv Golf Investments’ foray into the Asian Tour is the first step in unveiling what’s in store. He suggests some sort of arrangement with the new league as a route for players to join it. When the European Tour entered into a strategic alliance with the PGA Tour, it ended its relationship with the Asian Tour which saw a number of players get exemptions while co-sanctioning several events.
The investment in the Asian Tour will see a commitment of at least $ 200 million in prize money over a 10-year period to help fund a series of 10 annual marquee events. The tournament series will be added to the Asian Tour calendar in 2022.
In turn, the new league would likely be sanctioned by the Asian Tour, meaning players could earn points in the world rankings, a big deal as news of rival tours have surfaced over the past two years. The world ranking is one of the ways of qualifying for the major championships.
Norman noted the âuntapped potentialâ of the Asia region and suggested that the relationship with the Asian Tour is just the start of Liv Golf Investments in various golf projects. Asian Tour commissioner Cho Minn Thant hailed it as an important milestone, especially in light of the loss of association with the European Tour. “This will ensure unprecedented new playing opportunities,” he said.
The Public Investment Fund is a sovereign wealth fund considered to be one of the largest in the world, with assets of over $ 500 billion. It invests funds on behalf of the government of Saudi Arabia and has been the subject of controversy due to the country’s poor human rights record.
âI am pleased that the investor base is 100 percent commercially motivated by the opportunity to improve golf for all participants,â said Norman. “I am pleased to join this group of investors in bringing the significant resources necessary for the fundamental changes required for the greater good of sport.”
The announcement follows a recent 10-year partnership between the Asian Tour and Golf Saudi, which operates Saudi International, an event that was previously part of the European Tour. When the tournament lost its European sanction, the PGA Tour said it would not grant any release to its players to participate in the tournament.
The association of the event with the sanctioned Asian Tour left the situation unclear. Defending champion Dustin Johnson is among several players who have requested to be released to participate in the tournament in February.
The tournament will become the flagship event of the Asian Tour, although it is not among the 10 new events in the series that will run throughout 2022 and beyond.