‘This is certainly not the end’


Greg Norman delivers stern response to PGA Tour over Super Golf League: 'This is certainly not the end' - Getty Images

Greg Norman delivers stern response to PGA Tour over Super Golf League: ‘This is certainly not the end’ – Getty Images

Greg Norman has hit back at the PGA Tour’s apparent victory over Saudi Arabia and its proposed Super Golf League, telling commissioner Jay Monahan he is legally unable to ban players and warning that “this is certainly not the end”.

In an open letter, Norman – who is the chief executive of LIV Golf Investments, the entity running the Kingdom’s mission to overhaul the professional sport – has ensured the gloves are off, changing his tune from conciliatory to confrontational.

In truth, after a week in which almost all of the top players pledged loyalty to the status quo – including heavyweights such as Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau who were regarded as highly likely to accept the SGL millions – Norman had little choice but to go on the attack.

However, his tirade quickly gained ridicule on social media, with some comparing the tone of his threats to those of Dr Evil.

“When you try to bluff and intimidate players by bullying and threatening them, you are guilty of going too far, being unfair, and you likely are in violation of the law,” Norman wrote.

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“Simply put, you can’t ban players from playing golf. Players have the right and the freedom to play where we like. I know for a fact that many PGA players were and still are interested in playing for a new league, in addition to playing for the Tour. What is wrong with that?

Monahan has made it clear that if anyone who signs up with the breakaway circuit will face a lifetime ban, a punishment the DP World Tour – once the European Tour – would also enforce. This in turn would mean any rebels being ineligible for the Ryder Cup, with their participation also under threat. But Norman dismisses this as “bullying”.

Telegraph Sport reported on Saturday how Norman had been in contact with their targets last week, assuring them that they could not be banned. And in this missive the two-time major champion quoted a former chief lawyer to the Federal Trade Commission, who concluded: “Lifetime bans are never going to happen.”

It is plainly LIV Golf’s new mantra, with Norman vowing that the Saudi campaign will continue. “When you threaten to end players’ careers and when you engage in unfair labour practices with your web of player restrictions, you demonstrate exactly why players are open minded about joining a league that treats players well, respects them, and compensates them according to their true worth,” Norman said. “Commissioner – this is just the beginning. It certainly is not the end.”

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Intriguingly – or maybe not – Norman did not make any reference to Phil Mickelson or to his comments which many believe persuaded some would-be renegades to stay put.

In an interview that will appear in a forthcoming book, Mickelson – who was understood to be regarded by the SGL as it’s defacto on-course leader – called the Saudis “scary motherf—–s to be involved with” and claimed he was only dealing with a country “with horrible human rights records” to gain leverage from the PGA Tour in his argument over media rights.

Mickelson has since apologised – to the Saudis, not to the PGA Tour – for his “reckless” language and announced he is taking a break from competition. Whether the 51-year-old will still be welcomed by the SGL with open arms when he returns is unclear.



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