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LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman Blasts Rory McIlroy and the PGA Tour in Fiery Interview


The one and only Greg Norman, the Australian golfing sensation and CEO of LIV Golf, has been causing a stir in the sports world with his razor-sharp comments about the PGA Tour and its superstar Rory McIlroy. In a recent podcastinterview with Freakonomics’ very own Steven Levitt, The Shark (as he’s famously known) left no stone unturned as he tackled everything from LIV Golf’s financials to the juicy controversies surrounding the hefty player contracts.

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Rory McIlroy Hero Dubai Desert Classic 2023

Rory McIlroy won the 2023 Hero Dubai Desert Classic | Image: Getty Images

One of the most notable moments from the podcast was when Norman compared LIV Golf’s player contracts to Rory McIlroy’s earnings at the recent Hero Dubai Desert Classic. He explained the concept of “appearance fees” and how they add up over the year, saying, “He (Rory) created value, and he put value on his name and his brand to get paid to go play in one event. He plays a competition. He’s competing for prize money. He’s focused on the first tee on a Thursday to Sunday is to win that tournament. So when you look at the value — now, that’s one tournament.”

Norman went on to say that he isn’t personally aware of Rory McIlroy’s finances but that they aren’t too far off from LIV Golf’s player contracts. He broke down the numbers, saying “Let’s just say Rory plays 18 tournaments a year. That’s $36 million a year, basically, he would get paid to play, right? That doesn’t happen, but that’s basically what it is. So when you look at LIV and our quality of players that come on board, there is a commitment fee. We pay ’em on an annual basis, but when you break it down on a per-tournament basis, it’s not too far off of just that mathematical equation that I hypothetically put out there.”

Norman’s comments weren’t limited to just the financial aspects of the game. He also took aim at the PGA Tour, claiming that they don’t like competition and that their players should applaud LIV Golf for their actions. He said, “So they don’t like change. They don’t like competition. To see what’s happened today on the PGA Tour, since LIV came onto the scene, a massive amount of capital was injected back into the players on, on the PGA. Tour. So, be honest with you, the players on the PGA Tour should be giving a standing ovation to LIV, the league, and the players for stimulating this new injection of money.”

Norman’s statements come at a time when LIV Golf has been making waves in the golf world. The Saudi-backed league has been poaching some of the best men’s players from the PGA Tour, including Australia’s Cameron Smith, who was world No.2 and fresh off an Open Championship victory when he defected. This move has torn the game in two and sparked fiery run-ins on the range and in courtrooms.

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Despite the heavy ongoing criticism from the likes of Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, Norman has maintained that he has the best interests of the players at heart. He believes that LIV Golf’s offers have forced the PGA Tour to increase prize money for a number of events, injecting a massive amount of capital back into the players. Norman’s comments have caused quite a stir in the golf world, with many fans and experts weighing in on the debate. While some believe that LIV Golf is shaking up the game and providing much-needed competition, others feel that the league is undermining the sport and threatening its integrity.

Only time will tell how this saga unfolds, but one thing’s for sure – Greg Norman isn’t afraid to speak his mind and challenge the status quo. The podcast dives into several topics, including the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi Public Investment Fund, and other related issues. The entire interview is now accessible for viewing above.

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