Greg Norman is undoubtedly being paid an obscene amount of cash because the figurehead of LIV Golf, however the largest motivation for the 67-year-old in his ongoing battle with the established excursions could also be a three-decades outdated snub.
The 2-time main champion insists he would not maintain grudges, however the rejection of his 1994 proposal for a World Tour undoubtedly left the Shark at odds with the omnipotent PGA Tour.
Norman, on the time one of many recreation’s main gamers, needed to arrange a collection of wealthy, limited-field tournaments that might complement the prevailing excursions. Sound acquainted?
The Australian felt that golf wanted extra of a world presence, definitely greater than that supplied by the American-based PGA Tour. On the time, the highest 5 gamers on the earth (Nick Value, Norman, Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer and Jose Maria Olazabal) had been all born outdoors the US.
However the PGA Tour, then headed by Tim Finchem, reacted to the risk by sending a memo to its gamers warning that anybody who took half in a World Tour occasion can be suspended.
It is a exceptional parallel with what’s performed out within the current dispute between golf’s establishment and Norman’s LIV Golf.
Writing in his 2006 guide, The Manner of the Shark, Norman detailed his disillusionment with the best way it performed out.
“The extra I thought of it, the extra dejected I turned,” he wrote.
“PGA Tour executives had reacted emotionally and defensively to our thought for the World Tour. They did not carry out their due diligence and moved too rapidly – which is why incorrect statements had been made.
“It turned clear to me that Finchem actually did not wish to work something out with us.
“It was additionally fairly clear to me that he was subtly accusing these of us related to the World Tour of attempting to complement ourselves individually slightly than doing what was finest for golf.”
The Worldwide Federation of PGA Excursions reacted to the specter of a breakaway collection by creating the World Golf Championships occasions in 1999, a collection of tournaments designed to deliver the world’s finest gamers collectively outdoors of the 4 main championships held annually.
Initially meant to be performed all around the globe, the overwhelming majority of WGC occasions have discovered a house in the US, making them little greater than an extension of the PGA Tour.
“I do not consider this collection has improved the internationalisation of the sport, and I’d suspect that if the opinion of the unique members of the Worldwide Federation of PGA Excursions was sought, they would not see any parity within the recreation at this time,” Norman wrote.
“Actually, many of the different excursions are ailing by comparability to the PGA Tour.
“I don’t consider the PGA Tour has accomplished a lot to create unity among the many varied excursions.
“I do not consider the Tour ever had a real curiosity in growing such a collection.”
Norman at one stage acquired a memento of the WGC, at which level his true emotions had been revealed.
“It was a little bit squishy ball with a map of the world on it, inscribed: World Golf Championships,” he wrote.
“I stood up, threw that little squishy ball towards the wall as arduous as I may, and shouted: ‘F–k em’.”
There’s little doubt that the PGA Tour has accomplished irreparable injury to smaller excursions around the globe, such because the Australasian Tour. The place as soon as the PGA Tour had a clearly outlined low season, the transfer to a wrap-around schedule a decade in the past did important hurt to occasions such because the Australian Open, which had been performed within the American winter.
The PGA Tour has flagged a transfer away from the wrap-around schedule in latest months, however the injury in international locations like Australia might already be accomplished.
Whereas LIV Golf has cut up the game, with Norman “uninvited” to the Champions Dinner at this 12 months’s Open Championship, he additionally lamented that the ill-fated World Tour price him relationships with gamers who he lengthy thought of to be good mates.
“As a substitute of claiming, ‘Greg, you’ve got an important thought, lets work collectively on this factor,’ executives of the PGA Tour unleashed a propaganda machine that did a masterful job of portray me as any person I am not.
“All the nice change on the earth was completed by just a few daring individuals who weren’t afraid to problem the established order. They usually had been all the time attacked due to it. Within the case of the World Tour, I used to be the purpose man. I took the bullets.”
The Australian, who had gained the second of his Open Championship titles in 1993, the 12 months earlier than he tried to launch the World Golf Tour, mentioned the expertise was a think about his decline as a power within the sport.
“The entire ordeal dented me up fairly dangerous. I used to be harm – and I used to be offended, very offended. That emotion, in flip, siphoned away a lot of my vitality. I now not had the need to exit and play golf,” he wrote.
“After I did, I discovered myself asking the query, ‘What the hell am I doing out right here?’
“I simply did not wish to help the PGA Tour anymore. I now considered myself as nothing greater than a pass-through entity, and I now not felt like doing something to advertise the PGA Tour.”
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