Sport Golf Norman’s announcement, as Aussie champ ponders Saudi golf move
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Norman’s announcement, as Aussie champ ponders Saudi golf move

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While newly crowned British Open champion Cameron Smith is yet to confirm whether he will jump ship to LIV Golf, CEO Greg Norman says its player list is closed.

The Saudi-backed series, which rivals the PGA Tour, is reportedly chasing world No.2 Smith and fellow Australians Adam Scott and Marc Leishman.

LIV announced the signing of Swedish star Henrik Stenson this week but it has been quiet on the Australian front. Stenson was promptly stripped of his Ryder Cup captaincy.

Smith was testy when quizzed on his potential LIV signing almost immediately after his breakthrough victory in the prestigious British Open this week.

“I just won the British Open, and you’re asking about that. I think that’s pretty not that good,” he said – although he did not deny the reports.

“I don’t know, mate. My team around me worries about all that stuff. I’m here to win golf tournaments.”

Norman didn’t reveal whether his compatriots had defected, but said the breakaway tournament was no longer signing players.

“The rumours are true – we’ve closed up shop, as far as our players are concerned,” he told Australian Golf Digest.

“We’re in the process of kicking the league off next year and we’re a full year ahead of schedule.

“There will be more player announcements before then, but we’re set on the maximum amount of players.

“It’s interesting, we’re still getting calls from agents of top-40 players in the world wanting to join LIV but it’s too late now.

“What it tells me though, is what we’re doing is very appealing to the world’s best players.”

Norman said gaining the support of golf’s four majors and the Official World Golf Ranking was LIV’s next priority.

He felt it was well-positioned to secure ranking points that would further boost the legitimacy of its tournaments.

“The next, most important step outside of the players is getting OWGR points for our tournaments,” Norman said.

“We have worked hard to understand and meet the requirements to apply for OWGR points and have submitted our application.

“I am highly confident with our strength of field and our individual format, that it puts us in a very good place to secure official OWGR points.

“When we officially have OWGR points for all our individual events, everything else looks after itself, which includes the majors.”

Norman, who is the face of LIV, has been at logger-heads with PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and traded barbs with US golf commentator Brandel Chamblee.

But the two-time Open winner said he was still open to talking to Monahan.

“I would gladly sit down and have a coffee with Jay or Keith Pelley to explain our concept,” Norman said.

“Their reactions are based on LIV being a threat, a breakaway tour.

“On the contrary, we built our business model from the ground up to work within the game. Frankly, we ask ourselves, ‘What are they scared of?’

“Competition is what makes business, sport and the world a better place.”

-with AAP