Greg Norman has accused the PGA Tour of “deafness hypocrisy” and called on Commissioner Jay Monahan to distance himself from the Saudi rebel circuit’s decision to award world ranking points.
Orman, chief executive of the LIV Golf Invitational Series, revealed that the board of the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) will receive LIV’s formal application by this evening and insisted that it be rubber-stamped.
The issue is seen as a key battlefield in the battle between the LIV and the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour – formerly the European Tour – with Rebel players reaching critical ranking points for their hopes of getting into future Majors.
At the US Open, US Golf Association executive director Mike Wan said last week that he could imagine scenarios that would make it very difficult for LIV Series players to compete in the Major.
Whan is on the OWGR board, as are DP World Tour chief executives Monahan and Keith Pele, as well as R&A chief executives Martin Slummers and Norman keen to put as much pressure on the panel as possible.
“We are actually applying for OWGR marks right now. We’re putting in our application probably over the weekend, if not Monday, Norman told Fox News. “This is a very compelling application. We have worked closely with the technical committee, which understands all the components you need to apply for this.
“It’s going to be interesting because the vote on OWGR on the board indicates for any newcomers, here’s Jay Monahan.
“It will be interesting to see if Jay Monahan recuses himself from that vote, as he said on television with Jim Nantz the other day,” he said.
“It is sad to put extra pressure on this because our tour is a good tour. It’s supported, it’s got an unreliable field. If we get OWGR points, everything else gets fixed automatically. ,
In an interview with broadcaster Nantz on CBS, Monahan called LIV “a series of exhibition matches against the same players over and over again.” He also highlighted the ethical concerns he believed should focus on Saudi “sportswashing” rebel players.
“It’s not an issue for me, because I don’t work for the Saudi Arabian government. It’s probably an issue for the players who decided to take that money,” Monahan said. “You have to ask the question: why. ? Why is this group spending so much money chasing a concept with no prospect of recruiting and returning players?
“How is this good for the sport we love? Tell me, when has a player ever had to apologize for playing on the PGA Tour.”
Inevitably, this fueled Norman’s anger. “Look, I’m disappointed that people go down that path,” he said, when asked about allegations of LIV being bankrolled by “money of blood.”
“If they want to see it in a prism, why are the 23 sponsors of the PGA Tour doing over $40 billion with Saudi Arabia? Why is it okay for the sponsors? Is Jay Monahan all those CEOs of those 23 companies? Who are investing in Saudi Arabia and suspend and ban them?
“The hypocrisy in all of this, it’s so loud. It’s deafening.
“The European Tour had a golf tournament, the Saudi International, which is still in existence since 2019. During that Saudi International, there were PGA Tour players who were given rights and exemptions to play there.
“So to me, if golf is good for the world, golf is good for Saudi, and you’re seeing that growth internally, that’s hugely impressive.”
The first $25 million no-cut LIV event took place this month in Hertfordshire, and next week the series will move to the United States for its second tournament in Portland, Oregon. The 48-man field is expected to be announced over the next few days, with major winners Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reid being the two confirmed freshmen.
Monahan issued an indefinite ban on 17 players playing at Hemel Hempstead and also banned anyone else on the LIV roster. (© Telegraph Media Group Ltd 2022)