Greg Norman says he has been given another whopping cash injection of almost $A3 billion to build the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf Invitational series into a full league within two years, according to reports.
Norman is in London and was interviewed by BBC, revealing he’d been given an extra $US2 billion ($A2.8 billion) from the Saudi Arabian government to grow the rival golf league into a 14-tournament global series by 2024.
This year’s debut series will feature eight tournaments with 48-man fields playing over 54 holes with no cut, including a team element and a shotgun start.
Players who are confirmed to have asked for conflicting event releases from their tours to play in LIV’s opening event include Phil Mickelson and Martin Kaymer, as well as English stars Lee Westwood and Richard Bland. Sergio Garcia’s agent last week confirmed his client had asked for a release from the PGA Tour.
Australian former world No.1 Norman is preparing to host the inaugural tournament from June 9-11 at the Centurion Club outside London. It will have a $US25 million purse, with $US4 million going to the winner.
According to Sports Illustrated/Morning Read’s Bob Harig, the first LIV Golf Invitational Series event will field 19 of the top 100 players from the world rankings, with six inside the top 50.
The entire LIV Golf series remains shrouded in controversy given Saudi Arabia’s shocking human rights record, including the regime’s murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
Norman defended the source of the money, the Saudi Public Investment Fund.
“The whole notion is to changing the look and the whole presentation of the way the game has been played over the last 53 years,” Norman told BBC.
“We’ve just got approval to launch our schedule into 2023, 24 and 25. We’ve got $2 billion to back that up so we have additional funds in place.
“And just because we are talking about 23, 24 and 25, we’re looking way beyond that too. We are looking at decades.”