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Greg Norman’s solo launch of new Saudi league has the golf world guessing

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Greg Norman Saudi

Australian golfing legend Greg Norman has announced an eight-tournament schedule that will offer $346 million for the total prize fund for the Saudi-backed Super Golf League (SGL).

However, the announcement did not have any names of players who would be participating in the tournaments. 

In recent months, many of the world’s best players have committed themselves to play in the PGA Tour and not in the new competition with the PGA Tour threatening to ban its players if they play in the Saudi league.

The LIV Golf Invitational Series was launched by Norman, the face of the league and CEO of LIV Golf Investments, with a ‘mission to modernise and supercharge the game of golf via expanded golf opportunities for fans and players alike’.

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An eight-event series was announced and will showcase ‘an innovative new golf format’ with competition to begin in June. It will feature teams playing for more than $250 million ($A346m) in prize purses.

LIV Golf Investments is providing more than $400 million ($A553m) in ‘seed’ money to launch the series. Each event will feature three rounds with 54 holes and no cut, plus shotgun starts to ensure a faster pace of play. 

The new format is designed to produce players consistently playing head-to-head against their rivals throughout the year, providing fans with a different golf viewing experience.

The series is set to begin on June 9 at the Centurion Golf Club in London — one week before the US Open outside Boston — and conclude with a team championship at the end of October.

“Our events are truly additive to the world of golf,” Norman said in a news release. 

“We have done our best to create a schedule that allows players to play elsewhere, while still participating in our events. I believe players will increasingly make progress in achieving their right to play where they want. We will help in any way possible and will provide golfers with opportunities to achieve their full potential.”

Norman said the new series will provide entertainment for the fans.

“My mission is to help the game reach its full potential and we know the role of golf as an entertainment product is critical to overall participation in the sport.”

The Australian golfing great has found it hard convincing players to join the Saudi league, with many of the world’s best players including Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and many others publicly stating their intentions to remain with the PGA Tour.

Speaking after his recent win at The Players Championship, Australian golfer and world number six Cameron Smith said he has no intention of joining the Saudi-backed Super Golf League.

“I think that the PGA Tour is the pinnacle of golf, and that’s where I want to be,” Smith said.

“I want to be competing against the best guys in the world, and if they’re playing over here (the PGA Tour), then I want to be playing against them.”

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has dismissed the threat posed by the new tour.

“We have too much momentum and too much to accomplish to be consistently distracted by rumours of other golf leagues and their attempts to disrupt our players, our partners and most importantly our fans from enjoying the tour and the game we all love so much,” Monahan said.

Joel Martelli
Joel Martelli
The only thing that Joel Martelli loves more than football (seriously, we wouldn't be surprised if he has a Wollongong Wolves tattoo) is writing about all things sports. With a Bachelor of Communications and Media Studies Degree specialising in Journalism, he spends his days uncovering breaking athlete news stories and diving deep into play-by-play strategies. We're glad that he's put his passion to the pages of Only Sports as one of our dedicated sports writers.

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