Australian golf great Greg Norman has taken a further swipe at the PGA Tour and and Tiger Woods after he claimed LIV Golf's introduction is the biggest shake-up in the sport ever. LIV Golf CEO Norman has been fending off criticism from top players such as Woods and Rory McIlroy since he helped lead the Saudi-backed breakaway group last year.
Regardless of what golfers think of the breakaway group, top players such as Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka and Australian major winner Cameron Smith have all joined on whopping sign on fees. This has ruffled feathers amongst the elite with players claiming their is no legacy in LIV Golf.
However, The Open was the latest major to reveal that if LIV golfers are eligible and qualify for the tournament they are free to play. This announcement will see the majority of the big names in LIV Golf still play the majors this year.
And Norman has taken another shot at the PGA Tour on the People I (Mostly) Admire podcast and called his tournament the biggest thing to have happened to the sport. "It is the biggest thing to ever happen to the game of golf in over 53 years," he said on the podcast to Steven Levitt.
“And when you think back over time, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus and a few others broke away from the PGA of America that the PGA Tour. Why did they do that? They do it as players, right? All their independent rights – to compete. This is no different than what were doing today.”
Norman went on to claim that the PGA Tour doesn't like the competition of LIV Golf because it previously held all the bargaining power.
“Yes, we’ve gone and ruffled a few feathers. But we ruffled the feathers of a monopolist,” Norman added. "A monopolist who basically controlled the sport for 53 years.
"I tried to make a bit of a change back in ‘93, ‘94 with the world tour and again ran into the same headwinds back then as what we’re running into now. So they don’t like change. They don’t like competition."
Greg Norman hits back at Tiger Woods over criticism
Last year, Woods weighed-in on the golf war and accused Norman and the LIV Series of trying to 'destroy' the PGA Tour. "Greg has to go first of all. It has to start with leadership on their side, understanding that what is happening right now is not the best future for the whole game of golf," Woods said.
"You need to have the two bodies come together and if one side has so much animosity, trying to destroy our tour, then how do you work with that?" Now, Norman has taken a swipe back at Woods and McIlory and claimed the duo - who have spearheaded the PGA Tour's position - have never tried to understand what LIV Golf is trying to deliver.
“They have never sat down — I know with me they have not; I know with none of my executives or my team — have sat down to understand what the business platform is and what the business platform can deliver to them. They just haven’t seen it. So if you don’t see it, don’t comment on it, right?" he said.
“Because everybody’s got an opinion. And I’ve got a great saying: ‘Opinions are like a******s. Everybody’s got one.’ So excuse my French there, Steven. So, if you want to get in a debate with LIV, sit down across the table.”
Norman admitted in the podcast that some of his former friends have stopped speaking to him over the feud with the PGA. And the two-time major winner said it was 'happy days' if they no longer wanted to associate with him over the matter.
And in a big reveal, Norman alleged one top player from 2022 had approached him over details on LIV Golf. “I won’t mention this player’s name, but he is a top player. He’s won a major championship in the last year in 2022. I’ll just put it to you that way," Norman said.
"And he asked me to come over, to sit down, and show him what the LIV product was all about. He was willing to sit down and listen."
Earlier this week, Royal Liverpool confirmed LIV golfers will be able to play the tournament if they are eligible through their ranking. Joining last year's winner in Smith could be previous winners of The Open including Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stenson and Louis Oosthuizen.
Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau will be eligible due to wins in other majors. Brooks Koepka and Patrick Reed have also won a major since 2018.
While the news will come as a nice sweetener for some, it won't be a surprise. Royal Liverpool chief Martin Slumbers said last year that the major wasn't keen on breaking tradition.
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