Greg Norman named CEO of new Saudi golf venture
Australian golf legend Greg Norman has been waiting a long time to realise his vision of a ‘world tour’. In fact, it’s been 27 years since his concept was put to bed by then-PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, who threatened to suspend any players who were involved.
Of course that was a different time and players, especially those at the top end of the World Rankings, now have a lot more individual power.
Greg Norman at the 2020 Golf Saudi Summit (Credit: Golf Saudi)
And that may just work in favour of Norman’s new venture in partnership with Saudi-backed LIV Golf Investments. The former World No.1 has been named CEO of the new company, which will be throwing truckloads of cash at the Asian Tour in the hopes of establishing a competitive alternative to the PGA and European Tours.
The company has fired off its first shot in announcing a series of 10 new top-line events to be staged annually from 2022 covering Asia, the Middle East and Europe. The new schedule will represent a total spend of at least $200 million across the next decade.
“This is only the beginning,” said Norman of the new venture. “LIV Golf Investments has secured a major capital commitment that will be used to create additive new opportunities across worldwide professional golf. We will be a cooperative and respectful supporter of the game at every level, and today’s announcement alongside the Asian Tour is the first example of that.”
“I have been a staunch supporter and believer in playing and developing golf in Asia for more than four decades. The Asian Tour is a sleeping giant and we share ambition to grow the series and unlock what we believe is significant untapped potential.”
The news comes as little surprise following the recent announcement of a 10-year deal between the Asian Tour and Golf Saudi, which resulted in the $5 million Saudi International moving from the European Tour to Asia.
For one of the richest nations on earth, raising the money needed to compete with the PGA Tour is the easy part; the hard part will be attracting the headline players needed to make the new tournaments attractive to TV audiences.
With threats of suspension already coming out of the PGA Tour, 2022 could be quite an interesting year in the golfing world. Grab your popcorn and enjoy the show….who will blink first?