Report: Norman To Announce 'Marquee Names' For Saudi-Backed Invitational Series

Greg Norman and LIV Golf Investments are set to announce marquee names for the Invitational Series this summer

Greg Norman hits a golf shot
(Image credit: Getty Images)

According to a report in the Telegraph, Greg Norman is set to announce "marquee names" for the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series.

The eight event series will begin at London's Centurion Club in June, one week prior to the US Open, with players competing for an unprecedented $255m throughout. The first seven regular season events will each carry a total purse of $25m, comprised of $20m in individual prizes and $5m for the top three teams. 

Speaking to the Telegraph, Norman said: “We've respected the Masters and let it go off, but now our journey is finally coming to fruition - for the players not for me. The Australian added: “Their rightful place to have what they want. That's why they are still very, very, very interested. We have players signed, contrary to the white noise you're hearing out there."

Norman did not give names of those who have signed but did offer a teaser: “The interest level we’ve had, well, I had a player who's won a couple of Major championships sitting in my very office here 48 hours ago.” The Telegraph report that Bubba Watson, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Kevin Na are among those understood to be targets and, if true, facing suspension from the PGA Tour should they accept. 

“Quite honestly, it doesn't matter who plays, we're going to put the event on,” the former World No.1 said. “There's a $4m first prize. I hope a kid who’s 350th in the world wins. It’ll change his life, his family’s life. And then a few of our events will go by and the top players will see someone winning $6m, $8m, and say ‘enough is enough, I know I can beat these guys week in week out with my hands tied behind my back’.”

Norman described the Series as “a carrot too hard to resist” with the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund prepared to "up the ante" to attract the biggest stars in the game should it be needed.

The LIV Golf Invitational Series took a significant setback after shocking revelations revealed that Phil Mickelson's involvement was used purely for leverage against the PGA Tour and its position with player media rights; comments he later backtracked in a public apology leading to his sabbatical from the game. The likes of Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson, who were also said to be interested, later sided with the PGA Tour. 

Again speaking to the Telegraph, Norman said: “It was a kick in the teeth, there's no question about it. It was a gut punch - we were so close. On that Tuesday we had our strength of field ready to go and the PGA Tour heard about this and threw a giant redwood tree in our roadway. And they did, there's no question about it. They created a disruption by putting that information out, all those comments about Phil out there.”

When pushed to clarify, Norman believed that Alan Shipnuck, the journalist whom Mickelson made the shocking comments to, and the PGA Tour were working together. “That wouldn't be a coincidence," he said. "It was calculated. It's not like my 45 years in the game has left me on the outside. I have some pretty good intel that, you know, it was calculated in how it came out.”

The Telegraph reached out to the PGA Tour but they declined to comment. Shipnuck dismissed the claim, citing he would not be "a puppet for the PGA Tour."

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.