LIV Golf is currently involved in a lawsuit with the PGA Tour, after it joined last month in a federal antitrust lawsuit brought against the PGA Tour by 11 players from LIV. The group, which includes Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau, claims that the PGA Tour engaged in non-competitive behavior and harmed their livelihoods by being suspended from playing at LIV events.
In comments published by The Australian (via AFP) Thursday, Norman said that while helping the LIV Golf take off, he has repeatedly sought to be involved in discussions with the PGA Tour. Norman said the circuit where he once reached the world number one rankings was more focused, Norman said, on keeping its best players in the fold rather than working with his Saudi Arabia-backed rookie.
“That’s why we are where we are today,” declared Norman.
Despite threats of suspension from PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan dating back at least May 2021, and then his follow-up to that position, LIV Golf has been able to sign a number of high-profile players, with contracts at guaranteed nine-figure pay. In addition to Mickelson and DeChambeau, LIV Golf catches other previous major winners at Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Bubba Watson, and 2022 British Championship winner Cameron Smith is the latest big name to defect.
Norman said he and his team “tried awfully” to engage PGA Tour officials over the past year.
“When we knew we would never hear from them, we just decided to leave,” he said. “We have no interest in sitting with them, to be honest with you, because our product works.”
According to ESPN, which cited a source on Thursday, Norman’s communication with the PGA Tour included a letter he sent to Monahan in February and a voicemail that Norman left shortly before LIV Golf announced its 2022 schedule.
In the letter made public, Norman accused Monahan of “bullying and threatening” players with suspension threats, which Norman described as “potentially violating the law.”
“I know for a fact that many PGA players were and still are interested in playing in a new league, In addition to [his emphasis] To play on the tour, Norman wrote then. “What’s wrong with that?”
Norman echoed that idea in comments on Thursday, telling The Australian that rather than being a “breakaway” operation, LIV Golf has “always been an add-on to all rounds”.
“This idea that we are trying to destroy is incorrect,” he said. “The PGA Tour is trying to destroy us, it’s that simple.”
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In a note to PGA Tour players last month in the wake of the lawsuit brought by LIV Golf players, Monahan went on to refer to the series as the “Saudi Golf League” while describing the legal action as “an attempt to use the TOUR platform to promote themselves and to obtain free access to the benefits and efforts that you make”.
In his June appearance on CBS during the PGA Tour event, Monahan claimed that LIV golfers “need us badly…because these players have chosen to sign lucrative multi-year contracts to play in a series of exhibition matches against the same players over and over again.” .repeatedly.”
When asked at a press conference Thursday if he could see LIV Golf “skip” the PGA Tour, DeChambeau told reporters that he would “never want that to be my goal” and that the LIV Series “never wanted to do that.” “They had to play their cards the way they had to play based on how the PGA Tour reacted,” Norman and his crew said.
“Again, we will — they won’t lay down the iron fist,” added DeChambeau, who claimed he had no “buyer’s remorse” for joining LIV Golf. “I don’t think they will. There’s no need for that. But personally I think they’ll come up with a solution over time. It has to be. It’s only in the best interests of the golfer down the road.”
“What LIV Golf has introduced is something new, unique and different,” he continued, “However, there will be some disruption and people won’t like it, and I respect everyone who doesn’t. I don’t think it’s a good thing for golf.”
Rick Mays contributed to this report.