LIV Golf, which has driven a wedge into men’s professional golf this year, already is thinking about expansion only a month after its controversial debut. Next up: Women’s professional golf.
Greg Norman, the CEO of the Saudi-funded venture, told The Palm Beach Post for a story published last week that it makes sense.
“One hundred percent. Drop the mic on that,” Norman told the Post’s Tom D’Angelo from LIV Golf’s office in West Palm Beach, near where the native Australian makes his home. “We have discussed it internally. The opportunity is there. We've actually had one of the most iconic female golfers sitting in this room having a conversation with her. She absolutely loves the whole concept and is behind the whole concept.”
LIV Golf has signed many of the game’s top players – former major champions Sergio García, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Patrick Reed among them – as it prepares for its third event of an eight-tournament inaugural season, late this month at Trump Bedminster in New Jersey. The defectors, some of whom have signed for eight- and nine-figure bonuses to participate in the $25 million, no-cut, 54-hole events, have been banned by the PGA Tour and sanctioned by the DP World Tour.
LIV Golf’s next target appears to be players on the LPGA Tour, and Norman points to women’s golf as a logical progression for the rival tour.
“Aramco is already the largest sponsor of women’s golf in the world,” said Norman, using the shortened name for the state-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Company. “Aramco, a Saudi company.”
The Aramco Team Series visits Thailand, England, Spain, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia as part of a five-tournament, $5 million addition to the Ladies European Tour’s 2022 schedule.
“Why is it OK for them and nobody barks at them?” said Norman, contrasting the Saudi connections to the LET with their attempts at inroads in the men’s game. “But the boys, they're barking at you. It's simple, because it all starts out of the headquarters in Jacksonville,” he added, alluding to the PGA Tour, which is based in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
For golf purists who contend that LIV Golf, with its guaranteed money, no-cut, shotgun-start, 54-hole events is a plague on the professional game, here’s a supersized addition for your argument: Charles Barkley and LIV Golf could be in negotiations.
For what, we don’t quite know.
Barkley made the disclosure in response to a question on the podcast “The Next Round,” saying, “I’m gonna meet with LIV,” without elaborating.
Barkley, 59, the brash “Round Mound of Rebound” who was an 11-time NBA All-Star and member of the acclaimed U.S. “Dream Team” of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, works as an NBA analyst on TNT. He has made a name for himself as an avid golfer despite a cringeworthy swing. What might he do with the Saudi-funded LIV series? Surely LIV doesn’t want Barkley for his golf, does it? Barkley isn’t saying.
The inaugural U.S. Adaptive Open begins Monday at Pinehurst No. 6, ushering in a new national championship that illuminates and celebrates golfers with disabilities.
A field of 96 players ages 15-80 will compete in seven categories based on their disabilities, with players from 29 states and 11 countries.
Among those competing are 72-year-old Dennis Walters, a World Golf Hall of Fame member who was paralyzed below the waist at age 24 but went on to become one of the game's top ambassadors, and 23-year-old Amy Bockerstette, who raised the awareness of golfers with Down syndrome when she played with Gary Woodland at the 2019 WM Phoenix Open.
The 54-hole event will be contested in seven categories: arm impairment, intellectual impairment, leg impairment, multiple-limb amputee, neurological impairment, seated players, short stature and vision impairment.
The driver of a pickup that slammed into a van transporting a college golf team on March 15 near Andrews, Texas, resulting in nine deaths, had methamphetamine in his system, the National Transportation Safety Board disclosed. Henrich Siemens, 38, and his 13-year-old son were killed along with the coach and six members of the University of the Southwest men’s and women’s teams on Farm-to-Market Road 1788 in rural west Texas. Two members of USW’s team survived. During a briefing two days after the crash, investigators said evidence at the crash scene indicated that the underage son had been driving the vehicle, but DNA testing found the father to have been the driver. Siemens’ vehicle crossed the center line on the two-lane road as the college team was returning to its campus in Hobbs, New Mexico, from a tournament in Midland, Texas (READ MORE).
Billy Andrade was named winner of the Payne Stewart Award, the PGA Tour announced. The award, to be presented Aug. 23 during the Tour Championship in Atlanta, recognizes character, sportsmanship and commitment to charitable giving in honor of the late Stewart, who died in an airplane accident in 1999 at age 42. Andrade, 58, has won four times on the PGA Tour and three times on the Champions Tour (READ MORE).
Open champions Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Paul Lawrie were named honorary members of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews in recognition of their “huge contributions to golf,” the club announced. Woods, 46, of the U.S. and a three-time Open Championship winner, won the Claret Jug in 2000 and 2005 at St. Andrews and 2006 at Royal Liverpool. McIlroy, 33, of Northern Ireland, won in 2014 at Royal Liverpool. Lawrie, 53, of Scotland, won the Open in 1999 at Carnoustie (READ MORE).
TikTok, the Chinese-owned video-hosting site, announced a content deal with the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and the R&A, the company announced in advance of the Open Championship. TikTok officials said the company’s hashtag #Golf has helped attract 27 billion views to the site (READ MORE).
Staff and Wire Reports