Greg Norman revealed fresh facts regarding his Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf Invitational series, as well as the negative consequences of Phil Mickelson’s contentious comments, in an interview with ESPN.
The two-time major winner and CEO of LIV Golf Investments announced his 14-event upstart league would return in February, the same week Alan Shipnuck quoted Mickelson as saying “dangerous motherf—ers” in a story for the Fire Pit Collective.
While Norman claims that the launch will take place on Tuesday, September 15th or Wednesday, September 16th, Mickelson’s ominous words in Shipnuck’s report did not appear until Thursday, September 17th.
“We had enough guys willing to come on board in our strength of field, or minimum viable product,” Norman added. “When all of that happened, it gave everyone the creeps, and the PGA Tour threatened players with lifetime bans and other things.”
“There’s no doubt (Mickelson’s remarks) were hurtful,” Norman added. “It harmed a lot of things.” The PGA Tour suffered as a result. It harmed us. It had a negative impact on the sport of golf. It was painful for Phil. So, yes, on all counts. It wasn’t just directed at us. However, it did build a negative momentum against us.”
A week after SI.com’s Bob Harig revealed that 15 of the world’s top 100 players had registered for the first tournament at Centurion Golf Club in London, Norman informed ESPN that at least 15 of the world’s top 50 players have committed to LIV Golf.
“We still have players under contract and signed to this day,” Norman remarked of the eight-event series’ players. “Those who wanted to leave because of the PGA Tour’s pressure returned their money and left. Guys were carrying cash in their pockets.”
According to Norman, more than 200 players registered for the first event, including two former world champions. Mickelson’s representative confirmed that his client was among those who had signed up, stating last week that Mickelson had also signed up for the PGA Championship, where he is the defending champion, and the US Open.
Norman remarked of Mickelson, “He’ll always have an open door.” “It’ll be his decision, and his decision alone.” He has a couple things to sort out with the PGA Tour in terms of where he wants to go with them and how he wants to go with them, obviously. I haven’t spoken with Phil, so I can’t read his mind. In terms of our relationship, I’ll always be consistent in saying that I respect Phil. As far as I’m concerned, I respect what he’s done for the game of golf, and he’ll always have an open door to whatever golf tournament he wants to play.”
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