LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman Has ‘Got To Leave’


The world’s most influential golfer Tiger Woods called for the removal of LIV Golf’s brash CEO Greg Norman on Tuesday, as PGA Tour loyalists increasingly pin the blame on Norman for the ongoing civil war splintering the sport.

Key Facts

“I think Greg’s got to leave,” Woods told reporters when asked how the PGA Tour and its new bitter rival LIV could exist side-by-side, echoing top-ranked golfer Rory McIlroy, who called for Norman’s ouster earlier this month.

Woods, the only billionaire professional golfer in history, further ragged LIV at the press conference, calling the upstart circuit financed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund “an endless pit of money” and calling the actions of some of the golfers convinced by LIV’s often nine-figure paydays “tasteless.”

Woods did offer a path to reconciliation Tuesday, calling for a stay on LIV Golf’s antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour and the PGA’s subsequent countersuit—triggered by PGA’s decision to suspend players who joined LIV—to give the tours an opportunity to “figure something out,” but noted any sort of negotiations would need to occur before April’s Masters, the first major tournament of 2023.

LIV declined to comment on Woods’ remarks when contacted by Forbes.

Key Background

Known as “The Shark” during his playing days for his menacing style on the course, Norman has been similarly aggressive as LIV’s leader, throwing billions of dollars of the Saudi Public Investment Fund’s money at dozens of the world’s top golfers – and making plenty of enemies in the meantime. Norman has raised eyebrows for making less-than-diplomatic comments about the spat: He has said he has “no interest” in negotiating with PGA and argued players for the rival tour “should be thanking LIV” for introducing more competition, and PGA’s countersuit accused Norman of misleading players into breaching their contracts. Among LIV’s converts are Woods’ long-time rival Phil Mickelson, whose $95 million in career earnings on the PGA Tour trail only Woods’ and 2022 British Open winner Cameron Smith, both of whom inked contracts reportedly worth over $100 million.

Crucial Quote

“I’m the piñata to a degree, right?” Norman told Forbes in July.

Big Number

About $700-$800 million. That’s how much LIV offered Woods to ditch the PGA Tour, Norman told Fox News in August.

What To Watch For

The Saudi government could soon make another splash in the international sports scene, as the country’s Tourism Minister Ahmed Al Khateeb told Bloomberg on Tuesday the country is mulling a joint bid for the 2030 World Cup with Egypt and Greece. This year’s World Cup is being held in Qatar, another wealthy Middle Eastern nation with a spotted human rights record criticized for “sportswashing,” or using athletics to improve its reputation abroad.

Further Reading

Majors, Monopolies, Megabucks And Donald Trump: Inside The Business Of The New Saudi Golf League (Forbes)

Rory McIlroy: Greg Norman ‘needs to go’ for LIV, PGA Tour compromise (ESPN)