Greg Norman's huge Aussie announcement in LIV Golf furore

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Aussie legend Greg Norman is seen on the left, with British Open champion Cam Smith on the right.
Greg Norman has confirmed that LIV Golf will be coming to Australia in 2023, amid reports Cam Smith is set to join the breakaway league. Pic: Getty

Greg Norman's controversial LIV Golf series is set to land in Australia next year, with more details unveiled about the 2023 schedule.

The Saudi-backed series has announced a 14-tournament plan for next year with 12 established team franchises and a chance for players to either be promoted or relegated through its series of Asian Tour events.

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The 48 contracted players will be part of 12 team franchises competing for $US585 million ($A837m) in prize purses.

Between League events and International Series tournaments, LIV Golf will stage 25 tournaments worldwide in 2023, with Norman revealing that his native Australia is one of the host countries in the schedule.

As well as Australia, there are plans for tournaments in North and Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Europe with LIV boss Norman saying that the full schedule will be released later.

However Norman has stressed that the Saudi-backed rebel competition would not compete with golf's majors, international team events or heritage events.

“LIV Golf’s expanding global platform will add a new dimension to the golf ecosystem as we know it, one that provides an opportunity for players and fans around the world to help maximise our beloved sport’s true potential,” Norman said.

“Our franchise model will bring new energy and excitement to fans from all corners of the world, establishing a league of teams to connect and grow with.”

Just as with the LIV Golf Invitational Series, which launched in June, LIV Golf League will feature simultaneous team and individual play.

It's still unclear if Australia's newly crowned British Open champion Cameron Smith will be part of Norman's controversial venture, which has been accused of using the series as a form of 'sportswashing' for Saudi Arabia - who have thrown a reported $3 billion behind it.

Smith's epic triumph at the British Open was almost immediately overshadowed by questions that he was set to sign with Norman's controversial breakaway series.

"I just won the British Open and you’re asking about that? I think that’s, pretty, not that good," Smith responded to one reporter.

When pressed further on his plans going forward, Smith added: “I don’t know, mate. My team around me worries about all that stuff. I’m here to win golf tournaments.”

While Smith made no suggestion he was joining LIV Golf, the fact he didn't flat out deny the speculation did raise eyebrows.

Some reports suggest Smith will only make his position known about the LIV series after the PGA Tour's season-ending FedEx Cup playoffs, which begin next month.

Greg Norman says LIV Golf player list is complete for 2023

Norman has revealed that the player list for LIV Golf is now closed and that no more players would be signed for 2023, suggesting a decision on whether Smith will jump ship has already been made.

"The rumours are true - we've closed up shop, as far as our players are concerned," he told Australian Golf Digest.

"We're in the process of kicking the league off next year and we're a full year ahead of schedule."

Adding credence to reports Smith could join LIV Golf after the FedEx Cup, Norman stressed that more signings wold be announced in the coming weeks.

Pictured right is LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman and Australia's Open champion Cameron Smith on the left.
LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman says they are no longer signing players amid links to Australia's Open champion Cameron Smith. Pic: Getty

Smith has been linked to a move to LIV in 2023 along with compatriots Adam Scott and Marc Leishman, with reports that Norman wants them to form an all-Aussie team.

Star players to commit to LIV Golf so far include major winners Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka and Sergio Garcia.

American insurance company Mutual of Omaha ended its sponsorship of Henrik Stenson, after the Swede joined LIV.

Stenson, who won the 2016 British Open, was stripped of Team Europe's Ryder Cup captaincy last week, hours before he announced his decision to join the breakaway league.

with AAP

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