Golf

Greg Norman breaks LIV silence, denies claims of his demise

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Greg Norman spoke with reporters Thursday at the LIV Golf season finale in Miami.
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Greg Norman hasn’t left the building — he’s very much still here. And he’s finally ready to talk. 
Speaking with reporters for the first time since the PGA Tour announced plans to merge business interests with the Saudi PIF, Norman clearly hasn’t changed his tune at all. So what does he say about the initial reports that he — or rather, his position — would become redundant? 
“I knew it wasn’t true,” Norman told reporters from several outlets at LIV’s team championship in Miami. “There’s so much white noise running around out there, I paid very, very, I actually paid zero attention to it. I know sitting in this seat today, I know every step I’ve made has been for the right reasons, right reasons for the game of golf.”
The 68-year-old commissioner of LIV Golf hasn’t spoken to reporters much, period, since LIV launched 16 months ago. It was only after LIV’s first season ended that he held court with reporters on a video call last November, promising a TV deal was coming. Eventually, a TV deal did come, with The CW, though the arrangement is somewhat atypical.
This week, as LIV’s second season is about to come to a close, Norman gathered reporters again, from ESPN, Golfweek, The Athletic, the Telegraph, etc., reiterating that his league is in a great place despite the uncertain future about all of pro golf.
“All indications show you that the position of LIV has never been stronger and the position and success of our players and our brand has never been in a better place,” Norman said. “As we look forward into 2024, we’ve got a full schedule now, some places we’ve been to before, but we’ve got some new venues as well, reaching different new regions.”
What remains unclear is a long list that includes LIV’s staying power and what say in LIV’s future the PGA Tour will have, if any, in the proposed new world order. The Tour and the Saudi PIF continue negotiations toward a definitive agreement, which has a looming deadline of December 31. That deadline could, of course, be extended, but it would appear that competing investment has entered the pro golf sector. Just last week, Ari Emanuel, the CEO of Endeavor, declared his company recently made an investment proposal to the Tour, one of at least a half-dozen. The Tour itself announced to players that it has received unsolicited proposals as well. 
Rather than viewing the last few months as indications that he’ll being replaced, or being hurt about not being involved with the negotiations, Norman sees all of the above as a boon to his league. 
“The framework agreement really is a bit of a catalyst because of the recognizing the commercialization of what we are doing here at LIV,” Norman said. “Private equity has never been invested in the game. We’re an asset class now. And that asset class is in the teams.”
Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson both acknowledged interest from investors in press conferences this week, but both noted that any negotiations on that matter would not take place until after this season. Elsewhere in the men’s game, five founding teams of TGL have declared investment from various partners in the sports world. 

Zak is a writer at GOLF Magazine, currently working on a book about the summer he spent in St. Andrews. You can read about those travels here and catch his latest thoughts on the Drop Zone Podcast:
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