The Saudi-backed insurgent golf circuit is poised to disclose the “marquee names” who’ve signed as much as the $225m tour.
Greg Norman, the two-time main champion who’s chief govt of LIV Golf, the entity overseeing the tour, instructed Telegraph Sport that gamers together with a two-time main winner have been in talks over becoming a member of. Norman additionally claimed that the discharge of controversial feedback by Phil Mickelson regarding Saudi Arabia was a part of a conspiracy to derail the enterprise.
According to LIV Golf, the ultimate particulars are being confirmed however they “hope to announce some of the players in the coming weeks”. These are thought to incorporate Bubba Watson, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Kevin Na.
The eight-tournament collection – that Norman is eager to emphasize “is not called the Saudi Super Golf League” – is because of tee off in two months’ time on the Centurion Club in St Albans, and the Australian insists the enterprise won’t be stopped.
“We’ve respected the Masters and let it go off, but now our journey is finally coming to fruition – for the players not for me,” he stated. “Their rightful place to have what they want. That’s why they are still very, very, very interested. We have players signed, contrary to the white noise you’re hearing out there.
“The interest level we’ve had… well, I had a player who’s won a couple of major championships sitting in my very office here 48 hours ago.”
It will probably be, fairly simply, the richest golf event ever held in Europe with a $25m purse for a 48-man area that may function competitors for particular person as properly workforce honours.
“Quite honestly, it doesn’t matter who plays, we’re going to put the event on,” he stated. “There’s a $4m first prize. I hope a kid who’s 350th in the world wins. It’ll change his life, his family’s life. And then a few of our events will go by and the top players will see someone winning $6m, $8m, and say ‘enough is enough, I know I can beat these guys week in week out with my hands tied behind my back’.”
Norman believes it will likely be “a carrot to hard to resist” and sources say the Saudis are prepared to up the ante if wants be and lose $3bn within the first three years. Norman concedes, nonetheless, that the Mickelson saga was a painful setback.
Just seven weeks in the past, LIV Golf had been able to unveil a solid checklist believed to function Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau. However, on the Tuesday of the Genesis Open, Alan Shipnuck printed a weblog containing quotes Mickelson had given him in November.
Mickelson instructed Shipnuck the “Saudis were scary mother——- to be involved with” and that they’ve a “horrid human rights record”, citing the homicide of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the execution of gays. But Mickelson introduced he was ready to miss these atrocities due to the “once in lifetime leverage” it handed him and fellow professionals over the PGA Tour in his long-running row over media rights.
Within days, if not hours, the top-ranked gamers got here ahead to pledge their loyalty to the established order and when Johnson and DeChambeau enacted their swift U-Turns and Mickelson took an indefinite break from the game, Rory McIlroy declared the Saudi scheme as “dead in the water”
“It was a kick in the teeth, there’s no question about it,” Norman stated. “It was a gut punch – we were so close. On that Tuesday we had our strength of field ready to go and the PGA Tour heard about this and threw a giant redwood tree in our roadway. And they did, there’s no question about it.
“They created a disruption by putting that information out, all those comments about Phil out there.”
When pressed on Shipnuck and the Tour working in cahoots, Norman replied: “That wouldn’t be a coincidence – it was calculated. It’s not like my 45 years in the game has left me on the outside. I have some pretty good intel that, you know, it was calculated in how it came out.”
The Tour was not out there for remark, however Shipnuck dismissed the declare: “That’s crazy – the last thing I’m going to do is be a puppet for the PGA Tour.”