Greg Norman, who will head a Saudi-funded golf investment group, reveals his plans

Greg Norman has been appointed CEO of LIV Golf Investments, which invests heavily in the Asia Tour.

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Press releases are the LLCs of Communics. They imply more than they say. Consider the issue released by a new golf company called LIV Golf Investments, which went viral on Friday morning at 8:00 p.m. Here are three selected items from two pages:

(1) Greg Norman has been appointed CEO of this private company with offices in the United States (Norman lives in South Florida) and Great Britain (Norman has won two British Opens), and an Asian office is scheduled to open . The role of LIV Golf Investments: “Its role is to improve the health of truly global golf professionals and support existing stakeholders to help unlock the untapped potential of the sport.”

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(2) LIV Golf Investments claims to commit a minimum of 10 years of $200 million to sign 10 new full-scale Asian tour events that will take place in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

(3) The largest shareholder in LIV Golf Investments is the Public Investment Fund, the investment arm of the government of Saudi Arabia.

Here are three things about these three things that you can easily glean from that same massive collection of misinformation and misinformation, the World Wide Web:

(1a) Greg Norman, according to A golf week Reported this week, a new commissioner is expected to be appointed to the Saudi-backed golf league, which plans to begin play next year. It was Norman who first introduced the idea of ​​the star-studded golf trip nearly 30 years ago.

(2a) Compared to the cash-strapped PGA Tour, with its never-ending season, with combined portfolios of 50 events in 2021 totaling $392 million, the column schedule and funding in Asia is modest. In 2019, the Tour’s portfolio in Asia totaled less than $20 million for its 24 events.

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(3a) The Public Investment Fund (PIF) is the most secretive and richest investment company in the Saudi government, a fund headed by Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), the Crown Prince and Minister of Defense of Saudi Arabia, according to The Wall Street Journal and other news media. A report issued this year by the US National Intelligence Agency linked the assassination of the Saudi financial controller Washington Post Article writer Jamal Hashohi to Mohammed bin Salman. The PIF has also made significant investments in a variety of US public companies, including Boeing, Uber, Disney and Bank of America, according to news articles on SEC regulatory filings.

Friday’s press release from LIV Golf mentions the hiring of some “notable C-Suite executives,” although there were no names on the list. The press release includes a West Palm Beach timeline, but mostly uses British terms like “prize fund” (commonly referred to as “purse” in the United States) and shows the $200 million as “$200 million,” as British newspapers do. Then there is the use of the word between. (Very British.) There is something mysterious and divisive, really, about the whole version.

Norman alludes to this when he is quoted as saying: “This is just the beginning. LIV Golf Investments has committed a significant commitment of capital that will be used to create more new opportunities around the game of professional golf around the world.”

what do you mean? Address just the beginning? Address Extra new opportunities?

That means Friday’s press release may be little more than a warm-up before the next announcement by LIV Golf Investments, one that is likely to provide some limited details about the Saudi-led golf league, which Norman will oversee. . Norman was associated with such a league during most of the pandemic.

And really, long before that. He had been thinking about such an idea since the early ’90s, when he pitched his idea of ​​a world golf tour to Diane Baman, then in charge of the PGA Tour.

Greg Norman has been considering an alternative golf trip since the early 1990s when Dean Beeman was commissioner for the PGA Tour.

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At the time, Norman was frustrated with the number of tournaments he had to play on the PGA Tour (15) to maintain his playing privileges on the PGA Tour. He wanted to play fewer events in the US and more in different parts of the world, where he could charge a high performance fee.

Norman has never given up on what he thinks is the good basic feel of such a tour, for professional golfers who want to maximize their profits and for fans who want to see more of a star-led game of golf.

And who will save? Large capital commitment Does he quote? If you think about the Saudi fund, the Public Investment Fund, your reasoning makes sense.

In an email, a spokesperson for LIV Golf Investments sent a statement from Norman about PIF’s investment in LIV Golf to reporters: “I am delighted that our investor base is commercially driven 100% of the golf improvement opportunity for all involved. I is pleased to work with this group of investors to bring the significant resources needed for the fundamental changes needed to benefit the sport.”

According to Greg Norman, it is as memorable as what he said on Sunday at Augusta in 1996, the day he saw six shots disappear before finishing second, five shots behind Nick Faldo: “I screwed up. It all depends on me.. but the loss of mr. “It’s not the end of the world. I still have a good life.”

Of course, the press release issued on Friday morning is not a hot and tumultuous press conference on Sunday night.

Anyway, Beeman was a commissioned professional golfer. Norman seems to be trying to do the same. But Beeman doesn’t need to recruit players. They came to him. Norman wants, checkbook in hand.

Michael Bamberger welcomes your comments on [email protected]

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Michael Bamberger

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Michael Bamberger writes for golf magazine And the GOLF.com. Before that he spent almost 23 years as lead author for Sports Illustrated. After university, he first worked as a news reporter You (from Martha) Hook Brake Newspaperlater for Philadelphia Inquirer. writing A variety of Books on golf and other subjectsAnd the last one The second life of Tiger Woods. for him The magazine’s work appeared in several issues of Best American Sports Writing. Has a US patent on it electronic club, Handy golf club. In 2016, she was awarded the Donald Ross Award by the American Association of Golf Course Engineers, the organization’s highest honor.

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