Greg Norman cops massive new blow after bombshell resignation

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·Sports Editor
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Greg Norman, pictured here on the golf course.
Greg Norman's right hand man Sean Bratches has quit LIV Golf. Image: Getty

Things continue to go from bad to worse for Greg Norman and his Saudi-funded golf venture after the resignation of his right-hand man.

Norman and his Saudi backers have thrown the golf world into turmoil after the introduction of the LIV Golf Invitational Series - a breakaway league attempting to poach players from the PGA Tour.

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The PGA Tour is refusing to release members for next month's opening event in England, which clashes with the PGA's Canadian Open.

Aussie legend and former World No.1 Norman is chief executive of LIV Golf Investments, and accused the PGA Tour of "perpetuating its illegal monopoly on what should be a free and open market".

On Thursday, Norman copped a massive new blow amidst the turmoil after it was reported that Sean Bratches has left his post as LIV Golf’s Chief Commercial Officer.

Bratches was only appointed to the role last November.

Sean Bratches, pictured here at media day for the first LIV Golf event at the Centurion Club in St Albans.
Sean Bratches at media day for the first LIV Golf event at the Centurion Club in St Albans. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

According to Sports Business Journal, Norman has informed other members of LIV Golf of Bratches’ decision.

Bratches spent nearly 30 years at ESPN as executive vice president of sales and marketing and held a position on the ESPN board of directors.

He has also worked at Formula One.

“I am encouraged by the comprehensive vision that we have for the sport and the platform that we will create to benefit professional golfers, the sport’s commercial partners, and in particular, the passionate fans of golf worldwide,” Bratches said at the time of his appointment.

Unfortunately for Norman, it looks like Bratches might not be the only high-level executive leaving.

According to author Alan Shipnuck - who famously published Phil Mickelson's controversial comments about Saudi Arabia - Norman is on the outer with his Saudi backers.

“A prominent Tour agent recently confided that he is hearing Norman is on the outs with the Saudis, which would be another wild development in this saga,” Shipnuck said on a podcast this week.

Lee Westwood loses 14-year sponsorship deal

Meanwhile, UPS has ended a 14-year partnership with Lee Westwood in apparent response to his involvement with LIV.

The former World No.1 was among a number of players who asked permission from the PGA to play in the inaugural LIV event at the Centurion Club in St Albans, outside London.

Westwood was spotted without the UPS logo on his shirt during the first round of the PGA Championship on Thursday.

He later told Sports Illustrated: “I feel fortunate to have been with UPS for 14 years. Such a great company.”

Lee Westwood, pictured here in action during the opening round of the PGA Championship.
Lee Westwood in action during the opening round of the PGA Championship. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

In a statement, UPS president of international communications Kara Ross said: “We value the relationship we’ve had but make decisions based on what is best for our business.

“We will continue to focus on sponsorship initiatives that are important for UPS and consistent with our business priorities.

“The decision to end our partnership is a strategic business decision that allows us to focus on other initiatives.

“We maintain alternative sponsorships across other sports as well as cultural, philanthropic and sustainability-led initiatives to support our brand and meet the needs of our business.”

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