Greg Norman has fired shots at PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan with a public letter that ends with: 'This is just the beginning. It certainly is not the end."
Norman heads up Liv Golf Investments, the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund-backed start-up that has been rumoured to be involved with a new breakaway circuit and has dominated the golf headlines so far in 2022. The letter from Norman is a direct response to Monahan's constant threats to players that anybody who joins the rumoured Saudi-backed golf league would be banned from playing on the PGA Tour.
At a recent PGA Tour players meeting, Monahan told players who wanted to join a super league to "walk out that door now." This was a response from a recent explosive letter from Norman stating that the PGA Tour couldn't ban players and were "bullying" them.
In this new public letter, the Australian constantly rips into Monahan and the PGA Tour throughout, calling it "the 'Players' Tour" not "your administration's Tour" and asking why the Players Championship is not called "The Administration's Championship?"
Norman stated that "every player on the tour knows" that the PGA Tour puts its own financial ambitions ahead of its players, whilst also warning Monahan that he "can't ban players from playing golf." Norman also accused Monahan of intimidating players "by bullying and threatening" them.
Read Norman's letter in full:
Dear Commissioner Monahan:
Surely you jest. And surely, your lawyers at the PGA Tour must be holding their breath.
As has been widely reported, you have threatened the players on the PGA Tour, all of whom are independent contractors, with lifetime bans if they decide to play in a league sponsored by anyone other than the Tour.
For decades, I have fought for the rights of players to enjoy a career in which they are rewarded fully and properly for their efforts. They are one-in-a-million athletes. Yes for decades, the Tour has put its own financial ambitions ahead of the players, and every player on the tour knows it. The Tour is the Players Tour not your administration's Tour. Why do you call the crown jewel in all tournaments outside the Majors "The Players Championship" and not "The Administration's Championship?"
But when you try to bluff and intimidate players by bullying and threatening them, you are guilty of going too far, being unfair, and you likely are in violation of the law.
Simply put, you can't ban players from playing golf. Players have the right and the freedom to play where we like. I know for a fact that many PGA players were and still are interested in playing for a new league, in addition to playing for the Tour. What is wrong with that?
What is wrong with allowing players to make their own decisions about where to play and how often to play? What is so wrong with player choice? Why do you feel so threatened that you would resort to such a desperate, unwise, and unenforceable threat?
I noticed a recent article by the former chief lawyer to the Federal Trade Commission that stated:
"Let's be clear: A lifetime ban is never going to happen. PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan is no doubt being advised being advised by high-priced lawyers who - if they are worth even a fraction of their lofty rates - have surely advised him of the legal consequences that will blow up in the PGA Tour's face if it imposes lifetime bans on independent contractors who choose to associate with a competitor.
Most notably, imposting a lifetime ban on players would trigger a slam-dunk antitrust lawsuit by Norman's upstart league, the players, or even federal antitrust enforcers who have made it a priority to protect workers' ability to ply their trade for whomever they please without interference from corporate giants."
Competition in all aspects of life, sport, and business is healthy and the players deserve to be well compensated, which is why so many players have expressed an interest in playing in a new league. But when you threaten to end players' careers and when you engage in unfair labor practices with your web of player restrictions, you demonstrate exactly why players and open minded about joining a league that treats players well, respects them, and compensates them according to their true worth.
Commissioner - this is just the beginning. It certainly is not the end.
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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, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four 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 at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. 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 HL
Irons: Mizuno MP-H4 3-iron, Mizuno MP5 4-PW
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
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