Greg Norman attacks LIV critics in interview: “The hate was disgusting”

Greg Norman is still angry about the treatment of professional golfers who have joined LIV Golf.

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We still have no word on the progress (or lack thereof) in negotiations between the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia's PIF, which funds LIV Golf. And while LIV CEO Greg Norman isn't waiting to plan for the future, he still has one foot stuck in the war-torn past, as he revealed in a new interview.

Speaking to Bloomberg News, Norman spoke in detail about the current state of LIV and his vision for the coming years, but also touched on the controversial origins of this up-and-coming league and the hurdles it has had to overcome from the rest of the golf world.

Greg Norman at LIV Golf Adelaide

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“There was a lot of pushback in the beginning because the monopolists really controlled the game on a global scale,” Norman told Bloomberg. “And we came with a platform or a business model that could work side by side with the ecosystem.”

Conversely, despite the criticism he and his tour faced in the media, Norman claimed that he personally had not encountered any such resistance to LIV.

“Nowhere in my entire journey over the last three years since I became CEO and Commissioner [of LIV Golf] has anyone ever come to me and said, “What you are doing is wrong.” And I think that is compelling evidence that our product is our product and that our product is welcomed with open arms by many.”

But he also threw a thinly veiled warning shot across the PGA Tour's bow, saying: “They have not been able to maintain their position in golf because of a few who want to stop us for the wrong reasons. What we have done brilliantly is pump more capital into golf. Golf is finally being seen as an asset class.”

Norman's harshest words were directed at LIV Golf's early critics, particularly those who criticized the first wave of new professionals, calling the treatment of these players “appalling.”

“And I compliment the guys who were here first. They had to deal with a lot of headwinds,” Norman said. “The vitriol and the hate was just disgusting, considering what these guys have done in golf and how they have advanced the game of golf and the institutions that they represent, it was disgusting.”

Looking ahead, Norman believes LIV will take control of golf outside the United States and pointed to LIV's series of events as evidence of the success of this venture.

“We started a few years ago, nine and five [venues] — nine in the US and five internationally. And now it's the other way around. So the international scene, the global scene has opened its arms to us to a significant extent. The US is on its way there, but the rest of the world has opened its arms to us.

“So ultimately we’re going to bring the game to a global basis.”

Despite Norman's confidence, the future of LIV Golf is uncertain. Until negotiations on an official agreement between the PGA Tour and the PIF are completed, we will not know how LIV fits into this picture.

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