Greg Norman has slammed the decision by the PGA Tour to ban its members from participating in next month’s maiden LIV Golf Invitational Series event in London, labelling it “anti-fan and anti-golfer”.
The 54-hole event, to be contested June 9-11 at Centurion Club, will offer a total prize fund of $25 million, with $4 million awarded to the winner. To put the money into perspective, this week’s PGA Tour stop at the AT&T Byron Nelson has a total prize fund of $9,100,000, with $1,638,000 going to the winner. Next week’s PGA Championship – the season’s second major – has a $15 million pot, $10 million less than a 54-hole event on Norman’s tour.
PGA Tour members, though, were informed via a Tuesday memo that releases would not be permitted, thereby guaranteeing players would be disciplined if they decide to tee it up in St Albans.
“Sadly, the PGA Tour seems intent on denying professional golfers their right to play golf, unless it’s exclusively in a PGA Tour tournament,” said LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman in a released statement.
“This is particularly disappointing in light of the Tour’s non-profit status, where its mission is purportedly ‘to promote the common interests of professional tournament golfers.’
“Instead, the Tour is intent on perpetuating its illegal monopoly of what should be a free and open market. The Tour’s action is anti-golfer, anti-fan, and anti-competitive.
“But no matter what obstacles the PGA Tour puts in our way, we will not be stopped. We will continue to give players options that promote the great game of golf globally.”
Releases were granted for the Saudi International earlier this year, but that n event is not part of LIV Golf’s Invitational Series.
On Monday Norman announced an additional $2 billion in funding from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund to scale the series (currently eight events) into a full 14-event league by 2024.