LIV Golf commissioner Greg Norman confirmed that the controversial Saudi-backed breakaway attempted to lure away Tiger Woods with an obscene $700-800million deal as he slammed the PGA Tour for being hypocritical.
The series, which is backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, has caused a major civil war in the sport with the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour after it poached some of the sport’s stars with lucrative deals – and even tried to snatch up the biggest name in golf, Woods.
Norman, a two-time major champion, appeared on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Show Monday night and hit back at the rival tour as he accused the PGA Tour of continuing to take sponsorship money from Saudi backers.
When Carlson asked if the $700-800million offer to Woods he had seen floated around was correct, Norman confirmed the figure was ‘somewhere in that neighborhood’.
‘That number was out there before I became CEO,’ Norman admitted. ‘That number has been out there, yes.
‘Tiger is a needle mover. So course you got to look at the best of the best. The originally approached tiger before I became CEO so yes, that number is somewhere in that neighborhood.’
The 15-time major champion and drew enormous crowds when he made his spectacular return at the Masters in April following his horror car crash in February 2021 and securing him would have the biggest blockbuster attraction for LIV Golf.
But despite the mega-money offer, LIV Golf were unsuccessful in their coup.
LIV Golf commissioner Greg Norman appeared on the Tucker Carlson show Monday night
Carlson (centre) with former President Donald Trump (right) at the LIV Golf event last week
Norman confirmed 2019 Masters champion Tiger Woods was offered $700-800million to join
In fact, the golfing great has been one of the most outspoken stars against the organization.
Ahead of the 150th British Open Championship in July, Woods savaged the Saudi rebels for ‘turning their back’ on the sport.
‘I disagree with those who have gone to LIV, I think they have turned their back on what allowed them to get to this position,’ he began. ‘Some players have never had a chance to even experience playing on one of the tours.
‘They have gone right from the amateur ranks to that organization and never really had a chance to feel what it is like to play a schedule or play in big events.
Woods, 46, slammed the breakaway tour ahead of the 150th British Open Championship
The 15-time major champion savaged the Saudi tour rebels for ‘turning their back’ on PGA Tour
‘Some of these players may never even get a chance to play in major championships. That is a possibility. They will never get a chance to experience this right here. Walk down the fairways at Augusta National.
‘I don’t understand it. What these players are doing for guaranteed money, what is the incentive to practice? What is the incentive to go out there and earn it in the dirt?
‘You are just getting paid a lot of money up front and playing a few events and playing 54 holes.
‘They are playing blaring music. I can understand 54 holes for the Senior Tour. The guys are older and a little more banged up. When you are young, 72-hole tests are part of it. We used to have 36-hole play-offs for majors.
The Australian hands Henrik Stenson the trophy for winning the third LIV Golf Series event
‘I just don’t see how this is positive in the long term. It would be sad to see some of these young kids never get a chance to walk these hallowed grounds and play in these majors.’
Woods even called out Norman directly as he insisted everyone had a different outlook to the Australian.
‘I know what the PGA Tour stands for, what it has given us: the ability to chase after our careers, the trophies we play for and to earn what we get and the history that has been part of this game,’ he said.
‘I know Greg tried to do what he is doing now back in the early Nineties. It didn’t work then and he is trying to make it work now. I still don’t see how that is in the game’s best interests.
‘All the governing bodies, the PGA Tour, the European Tour, all the majors — we all see it differently to Greg.’
The breakaway tour has faced intense scrutiny and backlash for its ties to the Saudi Arabian government.
However, Norman hit back at critics of the Saudi-funded series claiming the PGA Tour are no martyrs.
Norman spoke with Carlson at the Trump National Golf Course Bedminster at the weekend
The two-time major champion hit back at the PGA Tour (pictured commissioner Jay Monahan)
The Australian appeared to brand the PGA Tour as hypocritical as he questioned why only LIV Golf was facing criticism for it’s ties to the kingdom.
‘The PGA tour I think has about 27 sponsors on the PGA tour through 40 plus billion dollars worth of business on an annual basis in Saudi Arabia,’ he claimed.
‘Why doesn’t the PGA tour call the CEOs of these sponsors — saying that we can’t do business with you because you are doing business with Saudi Arabia?
‘Why are they taking on professional golfers? Male professional golfers. The LPGA Tour is sponsored by Aramco. The largest sponsor of of women’s golf in the world is Aramco. But not one word said about them.
Norman questioned why only LIV Golf faced backlash, when Aramco sponsored women’s golf
‘Why are we the ogres? What have we done wrong? We’re independent contractors, we have a right to play anywhere in the world.’
Donald Trump hosted the third event of the LIV Golf invitational series last week at his Trump National Golf Club Bedminster.
Families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks were left outraged by the former president’s decision to host the Saudi-funded event.
50 miles away from last week’s event in Bedminster the families of 9/11 victims fought tears
Families whose loved ones were killed in the attack had begged Trump not to host the series
The 9/11 Justice Group protested the event Friday, the first day of the tournament, while earlier in the week Brett Eagleson, President of the group told DailyMail.com that the move ‘dishonors America’.
However, when questioned about the 45th President’s involvement with the series, Norman hailed Trump as ‘fantastic’ and claimed he ‘does not care’ about the problem some Americans have with the series.
When asked why some US citizens are upset with the series and its links to Saudi Arabia, Norman responded: ‘I don’t know. I really don’t care.
‘I just love the game so much and I want to grow the game of golf and we see that opportunity not just for the men but for the women.
Trump and Norman on stage during day three of the event with Yasir Al Rumayyan (second left), governor of the Public Investment Fund which backs the breakaway golf series
Norman hailed Trump as ‘fantastic’ for his role in hosting the tournament in New Jersey
The former President chats with the Fox News host as they watch on from the 16th tee
‘We see it for NCAA and younger generations. We see it as a pathway to opportunities for the kids to experience the new out there. LIV is the future of golf.’
‘I have known Donald a long time,’ he added. ‘I played with golf — golf with him before he was president. I have done golf courses that he acquired. His passion for the game of golf is as passionate as he has been [as] a president where stars & stripes flows through his blood.
‘He loves golf and he sees the commercial opportunity and what golf can give him. Trump Bedminster is no different. The membership here is full. It’s a commercial entity. It’s an operation where he can make revenue out of it.
Trump was a regular feature on the first tee throughout the week as he chatted with players
Trump drove around the course in a golf cart that was emblazoned with a presidential seal
Trump cracked jokes with the Team Captain Brooks Koepka at the LIV Invitational on Friday
‘So when we first started, obviously as a start up, needed venues. We were in discussions with him and we negotiated a venue fee with him and he loved it.
‘He’s been in the background but in the foreground. He’s been fantastic this week. He is not putting himself out in front of LIV. He has embraced it.
‘He walks to the first tee, he will allow LIV to breathe which I think it’s fantastic. I have been with him every day. It’s an opportunity for us because they’re great venues. Players love it. Great opportunity for us to showcase.’