Report: 'Two Former World No.1 Players And Ryder Cup Heroes' Sign For Saudi-Backed Tour

The Daily Mail report that the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series has recruited two former World No.1 players and Ryder Cup heroes

Norman stares
(Image credit: Getty Images)

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series, headed by Greg Norman, has successfully recruited two former-World No.1 players to its tour. The two are also said to be Ryder Cup heroes.

The Series, which will have a $250m prize fund, is thought to have tempted more than 30 PGA Tour and DP World Tour professionals, with the so-far unnamed World No.1's, at the helm. The Series gets underway at the Centurion Golf Club in Hertfordshire on 9 June, just one week prior to the US Open. 

The report states those backing the LIV Golf Invitational Series spent the week in the affluent West Lake Area of Augusta, just a few miles north of Augusta National Golf Club. It is clear tensions continue to rise as one former-European Tour (now DP World Tour) Executive said: "They could not be much more obvious about parking their tanks on our lawn."

The golfing world has been dominated by the threat of a breakaway league in recent months and at present, it is not known who will be playing in the Series. Big names unlikely to feature include Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson, who have all committed their futures to the PGA Tour. Bryson DeChambeau, who was reportedly offered up to $240m to be the 'face' of the league, recently said "as long as the best players in the world are playing the PGA Tour, so will I."

The PGA Tour and its Commissioner, Jay Monahan, has remained firm in its stance in that anyone who wishes to participate in a breakaway league will be banned. Norman has constantly stated that players are "independent contractors" and that the PGA Tour can't ban players for participating in other leagues.

Phil Mickelson was a key figure who appeared to be all in on the breakaway circuit, but in an excerpt from Alan Shipnuck’s upcoming book, titled ‘Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar’, the six-time major winner made it clear he thinks it's merely an attempt to “sportswash” Saudi Arabia's reputation and he was using the approach to "leverage" the PGA Tour. 

After Lefty's comments emerged, he issued a public apology and announced a sabbatical from the game. The 51-year old, a three-time Masters champion, did not take part at Augusta National for the first time in 28-years. Several sources reported to Golf Week that Mickelson was “either told or strongly encouraged not to come” but Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley insisted: "We did not disinvite Phil."

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.