Greg Norman's brutal move against PGA Tour amid LIV Golf drama
LIV Golf chief Greg Norman insists his organisation has "no interest" in discussions with the PGA Tour as the increasingly ugly feud shows few signs of coming to a peaceful resolution.
In an interview with The Australian, Norman said his offers to meet with PGA Tour officials have been repeatedly declined.
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The PGA Tour has instead tried to reform its own circuit in an attempt to hang onto its leading players, amid the threat posed by LIV Golf and its billions of dollars of backing from Saudi Arabia.
Seen by many as an attempt to improve the image of Saudi Arabia by using high-profile sporting events as a means of distracting from the nation's poor record on human rights, the LIV series has resulted in a divide among golf's top players.
Many have found the huge money on offer from LIV difficult to turn down, while others felt it was simply a deliberate attempt to undermine the PGA Tour.
Aussie star's Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman are among the most recent defectors to the Saudi-backed breakaway series, with Norman so far unsuccessful in luring fellow Australian Adam Scott across.
With LIV Golf players banned from competing in PGA Tour events, many fans would be hoping for a compromise between the warring parties so as to limit the damage already done to the sport.
However, Norman has turned the blowtorch on the PGA Tour after insisting that his attempts to broker peace talks have been ignored.
"That's why we are where we are today," Norman claimed.
"We tried awfully hard, I know I did personally for the past year... when we knew we were never going to hear from them, we just decided to go.
"We have no interest in sitting down with them, to be honest with you, because our product is working."
The launch of LIV this year plunged golf into crisis, with the rebel circuit sparking a bitter split that threatens to tear the sport apart.
With LIV offering US$25 million purses in no-cut 54-hole tournaments, a host of high-profile golfers have signed up, including British Open champion Smith, who was World No.2 when he switched sides this month.
The Aussie joined other major winners such as Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau with the PGA Tour adopting a zero-tolerance stance, suspending those who defected.
Despite the unprecedented turmoil, Norman rejected LIV as being a "breakaway" league, telling The Australian its "business model from day one was always built around being inclusive".
"It was always an additive to all tours," he said.
"This notion we're trying to destroy tours is not true. The PGA Tour is trying to destroy us, it's as simple as that.
"But the PGA Tour has not sat down and had a conversation with myself or any of my investors."
Greg Norman unfazed about LIV Golf backlash
The new circuit has been accused of "sportswashing" Saudi Arabia's human rights record, backed by the almost unlimited resources of the kingdom's sovereign wealth Public Investment Fund.
Asked about the criticism and the presence of demonstrators at LIV's last tournament in Boston, Norman said: "I don't even pay attention to that, to be honest with you.
"All I can tell you is I'm here for the game of golf. I focus on building the best league we can."
In a separate interview with The Age newspaper in Melbourne on Wednesday, Norman warned that the world rankings risked becoming a "laughing stock" if they refuse to award points to LIV players.
The issue of LIV events being recognised by the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) system could be pivotal to its future. If players can earn rankings points, it becomes easier to qualify for the sport's four majors - which are not subject to the PGA Tour's bans.
The league plans to have 12 four-player teams in 2023 for its LIV tournaments which are played over three days.
The 14-event global tour is expected to include one event in Australia.
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