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Norman’s campaign to keep professional golfers off the bread line

Greg Norman is determined that professional golfers will no longer have to be in economy class.

You might think that the Great White Shark had enough regrets about his career, as he used to wipe out one or two seniors a year at his peak.

But judging by his extensive recent interview with Sky Sports News, what keeps Norman awake at night is not taking advantage of six shots on Augusta in ’96 or Larry Mize and Bob Tway throwing miracle shots in the playoffs against he.

No, Norman still hurts not to receive his debt financially, at all this “value” that was not realized.

“I felt sorry for myself during my career, I felt sorry for all the best golfers, who carried the burden of being the best player in the world that we didn’t maximize our true worth.”

The shark quickly acknowledged that “we’ve made a lot of money,” but it’s still adamant that he and the rest of his generation of modest millionaires were cruelly short.

He is bitter in the name of himself and the other great cheeses of his time: Faldos, Seves, Freddie Couples, even Tom Kites and Ray Floyd could be thrown in there, which they never got to. roll around here. type of dough that pulls CR7.

“Have we done our true maximum value like Ronaldo does? Damn, no!” he cried.

Norman sees his generation of golfers similar to the former professional footballers of the 1970s and 1980s who could not make a living from the fat of their sports income and were forced by financial necessity to become pub owners.

By contrast, what Norman’s Super Golf League offers to this era of players is “generational wealth,” thanks to the generosity of the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund.

This is the painful point. Norman insists that the Saudis are not their bosses even though they are the ones putting the money. He has mounted a couple of unscrupulous defenses of the Saudi regime and what he insists is his willingness to change.

The Saudi regime, Norman admitted, has some work and some learning ahead of it.

His “we are all wrong” comment in response to questions about the brutal assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, which U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded was approved by Saudi Crown Prince and PIF President Mohammad Bin Salman. has been condemned this week by Amnesty International. . (More appropriately, Norman also described the murder as “reprehensible”).

On the deplorable record of the Saudis on LGBT issues, Norman avoided the usual line “I have many gay friends” and noted: “I’m not sure if I have gay friends, to be honest with you.”

At other times, he resorted to the always reliable approach “You think our golf / country tour is so innocent.”

“The European tour was connected to the Saudis, wasn’t it? Happy to take your money for years and years. The PGA tour is in China. Uyghur themes. Happy to take your money. Put it in the bank. No problem “.

Norman is a good old friend of former United States President Donald Trump.

The PGA Tour, no one’s idea of ​​a cold house for Republicans, was upset enough by the January 6 uprising that took Trump’s 2022 PGA Championship off the course in Bedminster, giving it to Southern Hill and Tulsa. This is a last minute change to golf standards, as they already know where the 2037 Ryder Cup will be held.

The Super Golf League is not affected by the same moral scruples and the first eight events include two at Trump’s courses, one at Bedminster and the final on October 30 at Doral in Miami.

Regardless of the underlying issues, Norman is not ashamed of promoting the power of golf to shape the world.

“The game of golf is an economic indicator,” he said. “The game of golf will take a communist country and turn it into a free market capitalist country.”

Having overthrown communism, the game of golf has its sights set on Islamic fundamentalism.

According to Norman, the next generation of Saudis are escaping the yoke of Wahhabism, and they are doing so through the mechanism of golf. “They want to change that culture. And you know how they’re doing it? Golf.”

The shark insists that LIV “is not a fugitive” and has no interest in celebrating the PGA Tour casing. Rather, the Super Golf League is purely “additive” (a widely used word) to the golf ecosystem. To do this, they do not organize tournaments that clash with events of historical importance, the majors, etc. Unfortunately, the Irish Open, to no one’s surprise, is not protected. The second SGL event at Pumpkin Ridge in Oregon is the same week.

The Irish Open’s prize fund has doubled this year from € 2.5 million to € 5 million. The prize pool in Oregon is just over $ 19 million.

One of the great ideas of LIV is the expansion of team golf. The final tournament of the year in Doral is a team match event, consisting of 12 teams of four.

In the Sky interview, Norman outlined a vision of team golf that is somewhat reminiscent of Formula 1, with “Team Principals” and a transfer market and the like.

“Their commitment (the players) to the LIV when they reach the League in 2024 will be because they will own a franchise, they will be part of a franchise. They will be part of a ‘football’ team that will grow in value. You can say “I want to be replaced by x”.

St Alban’s Centurion Club hosts the first LIV Golf event

Norman started fantasizing about being a team manager and all the “added value” that would have come from that.

“I would like to have this opportunity to be a team manager. I would consider my team manager value as a multiple factor, such as 10x or 12x of the revenue I could generate as a ‘Team Shark,’ for example.”

It is unclear whether or not these team directors will actually play as team directors. The latter would be more fun and would certainly add to the sum of nonsense exposed.

Imagine an old codger or a Champions Tour luminaire humming in a golf cart. Or better yet, sitting in the butler’s cabin in front of a bench of monitors like Toto Wolff. Perhaps arguing through a walkie-talkie with Bryson DeChambeau that team orders insist he is hiding on this occasion. And then decide whether or not to swap DeChambeau when he bombs him into the water anyway.

Norman’s vision is that fans will support these franchises in the same way they do with American football teams.

Judging by the mantra on its website, the Super Golf League is more relaxed about the etiquette of the crowd than the PGA Tour seniors, in the same way that the PDC disregarded the appeals of the ” better order “to darts. Evidently, they have come to the conclusion that this elegant shy-duddyness slows down the game.

“Rooting equipment. Dressing colors. Welcome and cheers,” says the website’s motto.

At SGL, every day is Brookline ’99 with Monty on the tee.

Who will be on the tee? Norman keeps his lips shut about the identity of the players. According to LIV, 19 of the top 100 have attempted to play at the inaugural event at Centurion, including six of the top 50.

Lee Westwood is widely assumed to be one of them. Martin Kaymer, too. After a recent exchange with a PGA rules officer, Sergio Garcia said he “couldn’t wait to leave this Tour.”

And what about Big Phil, another big one in the game with a great sense of his own worth. The man known on the Tour as “FIGJAM” has called the Saudis “scary,” but he was willing to ignore these qualities in an attempt to reshape the PGA Tour.

Mickelson is not a quiet man when it comes to money. He once corrected golf writer John Feinstein to state that “your number one problem is how much you pay in taxes,” saying instead that it was his “No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4. and maybe not. 5 “edition.

It’s not the first time Norman has tried to form an upcoming Tour. In late 1994, he and Rupert Murdoch envisioned an eight-event World Golf Tour for the game’s high rollers that would offer astronomical prize pools.

The Washington Post then said that “Norman’s greed and greed surprised much of the gulf.” At a meeting of the players, then a great statesman and beloved grandfather of the sport, Arnold Palmer made it clear that he considered the whole company a misfortune, killing the project.

But the shark seems determined to do it all this time. With Saudi support, he lives his best life.

What do you think?

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