Greg Norman leads Saudi-backed investment for Asian tour
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More than 25 years after Greg Norman tried to start a world tour, he announced on Friday that he would be the CEO of a new company that will start by adding 10 tournaments to the Asian circuit over the next 10 years, which will add $ 200 million in gaming opportunities and cash prizes.
The majority of LIV Golf Investments’ funding comes from the Public Investment Fund, the investment arm of Saudi Arabia chaired by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.
Whether this was the first step towards the rumblings of a Saudi-backed “super league”, in which top players are offered up to $ 50 million to be a part of, remains to be seen. a team concept. Various iterations of the team concept have been trying to gain traction for nearly a decade, gaining momentum over the past two years.
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has made it clear to his players that anyone who joins the PGA Tour will no longer be part of the PGA Tour.
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“This is just the start,” Norman said in a statement, adding that the company has secured a major capital commitment to be used to create “additional new opportunities” around the world.
“We will be a cooperative and respectful supporter of the game at all levels, and today’s announcement alongside the Asian Tour is the prime example,” he said.
Cho Minn Thant, the curator and CEO of the Asian Tour, called it “the greatest unique development” in the history of the tour.
Saudi International is already part of the Asian Tour after Golf Saudi, which manages the tournament, signed a 10-year partnership with the circuit last month.
Dustin Johnson is the defending champion and a two-time winner in his three years as part of the European Tour calendar. Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson are among those who have performed.
They have been criticized for supporting golf in a country with a poor human rights record. The first Saudi International in 2019 was played just months after Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated after writing reviews of bin Salman. A US intelligence report determined earlier this year, bin Salman approved of the murder.
Norman told ESPN and Golf.com, two of six media outlets invited to a meeting in New York this week: happy to partner with this group of investors to bring in the significant resources needed for the fundamental changes required for the greater good. Sport.”
The Associated Press was not among those invited to participate.
Norman, a two-time British Open champion who held the No.1 ranking longer than anyone else until the arrival of Tiger Woods, was at the top of his game in 1994 when he attempted to create a world tour for players elite. He didn’t have enough players on board when he was called off by PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem.
Shortly thereafter, Finchem announced the World Golf Championships, limited courses for players in the World Ranking or the six major circuits around the world. Now only two WGCs remain active. (The China Golf Association has canceled the HSBC Champions for the past two years due to the pandemic).
The Asian tour has been closed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, and is expected to resume next month.
Norman said Saudi International is not among the 10 new tournaments planned, but the new events will count towards the Order of Merit on the Asian Tour.
The series will begin in 2022.
The release lacked details such as when and where the tournaments would be played, or how they would be televised around the world. It was also unclear how much of the $ 200 million brew would be split between cash prizes and guaranteed fees.
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