Australian Olympic Gold Medal Winner Slams Greg Norman

The Olympic Gold Medal winner has insisted Norman should listen to his critics

LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman at the 2022 LIV Golf Chicago event
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A two-time Olympic Gold Medal winner and one of Australia's greatest ever athletes has directed a stern message to LIV Golf CEO and Commissioner Greg Norman, demanding he "stop and listen to the people around you."

Kieran Perkins, a freestyle swimmer that won successive gold medals in the 1500-metre in the 90's, is the latest to criticise his countryman and LIV Golf over its ties with Saudi Arabia.

"Just stop and listen to the people around you, Greg, and think about some of the stuff that's being told to you," the former swimmer, who is now CEO of the Australian Sports Commission, told the National Press Club. "See if actually there's some value in it, instead of assuming you have all the answers."

Much of the controversy surrounding LIV Golf has stemmed from its financial backers - the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF) - with many advocacy groups accusing players of sportswashing human rights atrocities within the Kingdom.

Greg Norman sparked outrage when he claimed that "we've all made mistakes" as he attempted to rebuff questions over Saudi Arabia's human rights abuses and the murder of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, whilst former President of the United States, Donald Trump, endorsed the Saudi investment. This led to public tension given Saudi Arabia's links with the September 11 attacks as 15 of the 19 hijackers involved in the tragedy were Saudi nationals.

The former World No.1 has maintained that "golf is a force for good" and that LIV Golf's purpose is to "grow the game" whilst Perkins, who promotes the importance of inclusivity and how sport can play a leading role in unity, suggested Norman should consider who he works with to reach that goal: "I understand and appreciate the need to disrupt sport and make it better, and the opportunity to create more competitive pathways that help athletes receive the benefit they deserve, [but] opening the door for more inclusion is incredibly important."

Norman has lured Australian stars Marc Leishman and recently-crowned Open champion Cameron Smith to LIV Golf, which will play its sixth event in Bangkok, Thailand, this week. The venture recently announced plans to rebrand to the LIV Golf League from 2023 with an expanded 14-tournament schedule and an enormous $405m total prize purse - a huge increase on the $225m on offer for this year’s eight-tournament Series.

James Hibbitt

James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.