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Greg Norman has revealed that the LIV Golf Invitational Series is still attracting interest from some of the world’s best players, even with a host of big names already signed up to the Saudi-backed venture.
In an interview with Australian Golf Digest (opens in new tab), Norman explained that, as the Series transitions to a fully fledged league format in 2023, the interest he’s fielding from players wishing to be a part of it is growing. He said: “We’re set on the maximum amount of players. It’s interesting, we’re still getting calls from agents of top-40 players in the world wanting to join LIV but it’s too late now. I mean, we’d love to have them all but we can’t get them in. What it tells me, though, is what we’re doing is very appealing to the world’s best players. “
Video: What Is LIV Golf?
The first two tournaments in the Series saw some of the world’s most high-profile players tee it up, with the likes of Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Abraham Ancer joining original marquee signings Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson in the second event at Pumpkin Ridge. Meanwhile, the field for next week's tournament will be stronger still thanks to three new signings for the Bedminster event - Henrik Stenson, Jason Kokrak and Charles Howell III.
The PGA Tour has taken a hardline stance on any of its members taking part in the Series by suspending them indefinitely, while the DP World Tour has issued temporary suspensions and fines. However, Norman said he’s willing to talk to both organisations. He said: “The PGA Tour and DP World Tour certainly seem to be working together against LIV. My ultimate wish in all this is, I would just love to sit down with these guys and walk them through the LIV business model and explain to them what LIV is all about and how it’s ultimately good for the game."
Norman’s stance is far more conciliatory than in February, when he sent an open letter to PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan challenging his threat to ban players and saying: “This is just the beginning.” After receiving a further $2bn cash boost to grow the Series in the coming years, it certainly looks as though it is here for the long term.
Nevertheless, despite the growing momentum and determination to ensure the Series becomes an established part of the golf ecosystem, there have been regular allegations that the Saudis were using it to sportswash the country’s human rights record. Norman, though, insists that’s not the case: “My advice to all the pundits out there is take a trip to Saudi Arabia to see for yourself the cultural changes occurring within the country. They will see that if golf is good for the world, it is good for Saudi Arabia. They are investing in-country as well as globally in the game.”
Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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