LIV Golf not going anywhere; “totally separate” from PGA Tour, PIF negotiations

Since LIV Golf launched in the spring of 2022, golf has been in flux, with the game’s best players competing on two separate circuits.

Many other issues exist within this reality, too. Money, equity, and, given who LIV Golf’s beneficiary is, moral issues and geopolitical ramifications have all bled into the sport.

Nevertheless, in an attempt to rectify this, PGA Tour brass and the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) established a framework agreement on Jun. 6, 2023, that not only shocked the sporting world but also set a pathway for the two sides to come together and re-establish a unified golf tour. Negotiations have occurred since then, but a finalized deal remains far away.

Yet, LIV Golf did not appear within that framework agreement then, and they do not have any influence on those negotiations now, according to LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman.

“I would love to give you insight, but I don’t have any. We at LIV are totally separate from that part of the negotiation,” Norman said in South Australia ahead of this week’s LIV Golf Adelaide event.

Greg Norman

Greg Norman at the 2023 LIV Golf Adelaide event.
Photo by Brenton Edwards/Getty Images

“We at LIV are a standalone company being invested in by the same investor interested in the game of golf. Our investor wanted to invest in LIV because he loved the opportunity of the franchise model, what he could do with it, and how we could build it out on a global platform.”

Since last June, Norman has continued to champion LIV Golf’s cause, indicating on numerous occasions that its strength as a start-up league has never been stronger.

Nobody knows how LIV will look or how it will fit into professional golf’s new structure should the PGA Tour and the PIF strike a deal.

But Norman remains as confident in LIV Golf as he ever has. He said he received numerous compliments at Augusta National, where he lingered among the patrons at this year’s Masters Tournament. Norman said dozens of people approached him there and told him they love what he and LIV Golf have accomplished.

“The support, the recognition, the comments that were made, it was almost unanimous for three straight days walking around with people,” Norman said.

“To see it and to hear it and to hear the comments they made about what’s happening to the game of golf and the go that LIV has brought to the game of golf, it was very, very strong for me. It was a very powerful three days.”

LIV Golf

Sergio Garcia at LIV Golf Adelaide.
Photo by Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images

Norman, who envisioned a global golf tour in the mid-1990s, has seen that dream become a reality through LIV. He has helped bring golf to different places around the world often neglected by the PGA Tour and other major tours, such as Singapore, Thailand, and his native Australia.

In its first full year of operation last year, the event in Adelaide welcomed 77,000 fans, making it LIV’s most successful event of 2023. The “Watering Hole,” which has drawn comparisons to TPC Scottsdale’s famous par-3 16th, was a smashing success, too.

Over 100,000 spectators are expected at the South Australia tournament this week.

“This event here from last to this year is the benchmark for LIV,” Norman said.

“We get all the other events, 13 events around the world, to take a look at what we’ve delivered here, what Adelaide has delivered, what the state government has delivered, and what the local community and the region have delivered, and you go. It can be done.”

Norman’s focus remains on LIV, not on the negotiations between the PIF and the PGA Tour.

“I don’t know what’s going on over there,” Norman added.

“I really don’t want to know what’s going on over there because we are so fixated on growing and developing and building out what LIV is today and looking and doing our schedule for 2025 and going into 2026. Our responsibility is to look after our people, our players, and where we want to go.”

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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