Norman juggles politics, business and sport at LIV Golf

April 23, 2023 11:03 AM AEST | By AAPNEWS
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What if Greg Norman is actually telling the truth?

What if he really is the Kerry Packer of golf.

Norman: "He sits on my right shoulder every day. Trust me, every day. He goes, 'Son, you're doing a good bloody job'."

What if LIV's beers, bells and whistles Adelaide tournament is the now and the future of golf.

South Australia's Premier Peter Malinauskas: "LIV is not a representative of Saudi Arabia. LIV is a golf tournament ... and it's shaking things up and that's a good thing."

Norman: "Everywhere you go, golf is a force for good."

The inaugural Australian tournament at the Grange in Adelaide's west has lived LIV's slogan: Golf, but louder.

Phil Mickelson: "I'm not saying it should happen every week. But what LIV Golf has provided is really a great alternative for the traditional ways of golf, and the people here in Australia have embraced it."

Norman's LIV conquest of Adelaide is complete: 90,000 revellers in sell-out crowds at a three-day party on a golf course.

Cam Smith: "I would go as far as to say this is the best event I have ever played. I'm probably biased a little bit, being from Australia, but this is what LIV Golf is about."

LIV chief executive and commissioner Norman knew the tournament would be a winner. 

Asking Australians to come to a massive party while watching sport? No-brainer money-maker.

Norman: "From my perspective, it's product. We have a product that the fans want."

At the Grange, he juggles politics, business and sport. He reckons the sport bit gets overlooked.

Smith: "The crowd is so young. Not only kids, guys in their 20s and 30s all out there, it's hard to say it's not growing the game of golf. 

"You've got to wonder how many people are going to pick up the clubs next week and give it a shot."

The LIV boss says his product, and Smith's sport, are shifting the demographic of golf from the PGA Tour's average of 67 years old.

Norman: "In one year we've taken that down, 65 per cent of our viewers and fans are 45 years and younger ... our product, it's now identified to a younger fan base."

He speaks of peace while prepared for war.

Norman: "The PGA Tour has got a great tour ... I'm happy for them. I hope they exist and keep existing but it's their choice of what they want to do. 

"And if they want to keep putting up road blocks, we're not going to go anywhere."

He talks of a relegation system, more teams, possible LIV ladies, queues of golfers wanting to join.

Norman: "It's not an imaginary line. That line is already there."

Mickelson last February said of the Saudis, who bankroll the tour: "They're scary mother****ers to get involved with." 

In Adelaide, he spent 15 minutes in the scorer's hut before speaking to media.

Mickelson: "Just kind of regroup, recuperate, so that I don't say anything too stupid here."

The six-time major winner is, behind Smith, the major LIV drawcard. There's 13 major winners in LIV's 48-strong field.

There's winners of 531 tournaments worldwide, 24 majors. And there's Sihwan Kim.

The South Korea-born naturalised American arrived in Adelaide after finishing last in all three LIV tournaments this year - 23 over, 19 over, 13 over.

He earnt more than a half-a-million dollars doing so - $A537,876 precisely.

Kim shot 84, including a 10, on his opening day in Adelaide. When people make pointed criticism of LIV's depth, many point at him.

Norman: "We have 48 of the best players in the world that we're very, very happy with. Our goal is to build those franchise values out."


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