Greg Norman Confirms Hideki Matsuyama Was LIV Golf Target

The LIV Golf CEO confirmed that he had been trying to sign Hideki Matsuyama and even congratulated him after the Japanese star's latest PGA Tour victory

Greg Norman with an insert of Hideki Matsuyama holding the Genesis Invitational trophy
(Image credit: Getty Images)

LIV Golf's player roster has continued to strengthen since the Saudi-backed circuit's inception in 2022, with the tour signing Major winners like Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Cameron Smith and Phil Mickelson.

However, one signing the 54-hole league hasn't been able to get over the line is Hideki Matsuyama.

The 2021 Masters champion was reportedly weighing up an offer of around $400m in 2022, with his reported sum the largest of any LIV Golf player due to his fame and popularity in Japan and Asia - as the continent's most successful active player.

Reports even stated that he was "torn between the money and his legacy" during the time, and LIV Golf's CEO Greg Norman has now confirmed that Matsuyama was one of his key targets, and that he messaged him congratulations after his win at the Genesis Invitational earlier in the month.

Speaking to Australian Golf Digest, the two-time Major winner said: "We’ve been trying to get Hideki Matsuyama. I don’t mind admitting that. When Hideki won in LA, what’s the first thing I did? I said, “Congratulations, Hideki. I’m proud of you, mate.”

Hideki Matsuyama on the 18th green at the Genesis Invitational

Matsuyama shot a record 62 at Riviera to win his ninth PGA Tour title at the Genesis Invitational

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Matsuyama banked $4m for his Genesis Invitational win to take his PGA Tour career earnings over $48m. The 32-year-old returned to the world's top 20 after a difficult 2023 where he struggled with back problems. 

While he may have missed out on the huge LIV Golf money, he was able to overtake KJ Choi as the Asian with the most PGA Tour victories.

"Reaching nine wins was one of my big goals, passing KJ Choi," he said.

"After my eighth win I've been struggling with my back injury. There were a lot of times where I felt, you know, I was never going to win again. I struggled reaching to top-10, but I'm really happy that I was able to win today."

In the interview with Australian Golf Digest, Norman also revealed he messaged Rory McIlroy after his 2011 Masters collapse and would message him congratulations if he were to win the Green Jacket. And on reports that Anthony Kim is set to join LIV, the Australian simply said: “Stay tuned, mate. Stay tuned.”

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV