One of the most successful athletes-turned-entrepreneurs in the history of sports — golfer Greg Norman is looking toward his next venture — LIV Golf.
The CEO of the Saudi-backed golf series is also convinced a women’s LIV Golf league is right around the corner. “One hundred percent. Drop the mic on that,” Norman stated when asked if he envisioned a women’s LIV league. “We have discussed it internally; the opportunity is there. We’ve actually had one of the most iconic female golfers sitting in this room having a conversation with her. She absolutely loves the whole concept and is behind the whole concept.”
With the main debate being the sponsor of the tour by a Saudi regime and its human rights record, many have questioned why the same questions have not been asked of the Aramco sponsorship on the women’s roster. The Aramco Team Series present some of the best player-attended events outside of the official LPGA season.
Cristie Kerr, a two-time major winner, believes most members of the LPGA Tour would defect to a LIV Golf series. “Put it this way, I think you would see almost the entire tour do it here,” Kerr stated at last month’s Women’s PGA Championship. “What we play for here compared to the men’s Tour, the scale is different.
What is the LIV Golf Series?
Formerly known as the Super Golf League, the LIV Golf Invitational is a Saudi-backed venture consisting of eight invitational tournaments with no cuts, shotgun starts — and most importantly a $255 million purse. It is being fronted by Greg Norman, the two-time Open Champion and former World No. 1 star.
LIV is the Roman numeral for 54, which is the number of holes to be played in each event. It also refers to the lowest score you could shoot were you to birdie every hole on a par-72 course.
The series is being sanctioned by the Asian Tour, which will benefit from a $300 million cash injection – courtesy of LIV Golf – over the next 10 years.
LIV and the LPGA
Greg Norman recently told the BBC, “We’re here to grow the game golf on a global basis, not just in one specific sector, which is the men’s. It’s across the board.”
But not everyone is on-board with Norman. If LIV creates something new for women’s golf, Gaby Lopez thinks she’d likely stay on the LPGA. “Just for my core values,” Lopez stated. “I don’t really play for money. I really play to win championships. To me, it’s more important.” But, she can see others viewing it differently.
She added, “I think a lot of players will think about it because there are a lot of girls that are struggling, even on the sponsor side. I wouldn’t be surprised if girls leave this tour.”