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Greg Norman: ‘Mickelson hurt many sides’

AmericaAccording to the legendary golfer, the statements of American player Phil Mickelson caused multi-dimensional damage and disrupted the plan to announce his own arena.

“Phil’s words hurt in many ways, for us, the PGA Tour and even golf,” Norman said above ESPN on May 2 about the impact of comments Mickelson made more than 10 weeks ago.

Norman, 67, tops the competitive system with the PGA Tour and DP World Tour.  Photo: Naples Daily News

Norman, 67, tops the competitive system with the PGA Tour and DP World Tour. Image: Naples Daily News

On the PGA Tour, Norman won 20 championships, including both majors in the 80s and 90s. He accumulated 331 weeks at the top of the world, just behind Tiger Woods (683 weeks) in terms of time in the position. Norman entered the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2001.

He is currently the founder and CEO of LIV Golf Investments, of which the major shareholder is the Public Investment Fund (PIF) Saudi Arabia. This unit is in charge of developing the Super Golf League (SGL) – a tournament system that has a reputation as a threat to the PGA Tour and its DP World Tour ally’s dominance of the world’s top golf.

In mid-February, Mickelson accused the PGA Tour’s host organization of “dictatorship and greed in exploiting members’ photo and video archives” and said Saudi Arabia was a terrifying force.

At that time, Norman planned to announce a new arena with 14 tournaments for the opening season and a list of committed players, including 15 faces in the world’s top 50.

But after Mickelson gave up, some of the players refunded their advance payments from LIV and withdrew. And within a few days, two top stars – Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau officially promised a long-term commitment to the PGA Tour. Before that, they did not express this stance like famous colleagues – Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa…

“Everything was ready, but we broke the plan because of the Mickelson case. Some players signed contracts, received money but left because of pressure from the PGA Tour,” Norman shared more behind the scenes. After denouncing the PGA Tour and the Saudis, Mickelson lost a series of major sponsors and left the club until now.

Also because Mickelson caused a big incident, LIV had to adjust the project. On March 16, they announced the Invitational Series including eight prizes, of which five are in the US. The opening leg was held in London from 9/6 to 11/6, with Mickelson on the list of registered matches through an intermediary, and grand final in Miamiat the Trump National Doral golf resort complex owned by former US president Donald Trump.

The LIV Invitational Series is considered a shortened version of the Super Golf League (SGL).

Except for the four-round closing stage, each tournament remains only three rounds without elimination, bringing together 48 players evenly divided into 12 teams to compete for a total prize fund of 255 million USD.

The fund per leg is at $25 million, of which $5 million is for the top three in team events and $20 million for individual stroke play. In this content, the champion will take home 4 million USD.

The grand finals fund alone spends $30 million on individual content and $50 million on the team portion, with the winning team splitting $16 million equally among the four members. This is also the general principle of reward distribution. At the final stage of the Invitational Series, the runner-up received $10 million, the third-placed team received $8 million, and the last-placed team received $1 million.

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