LIV TOUR: How Money Is Driving the PGA’s Biggest Foe

Chris Trotman/LIV Golf/Getty Images

LIV TOUR: How Money Is Driving the PGA’s Biggest Foe

Golf

LIV TOUR: How Money Is Driving the PGA’s Biggest Foe

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Chris Trotman/LIV Golf/Getty Images

Money versus legacy, the old guard versus the new. Welcome to the LIV TOUR, the PGA of America’s biggest headache in the history of the game.

LIV is swimming in revenue and controversy. It’s managed to pit big names against those who were once friend and foe on the golf course, and it’s as big a story as any at the recently played British Open at St. Andrews.

Indeed, It’s hard to think of Saudi Arabia as a hotbed for professional golf. However, the Kingdom is the home to 14 quality courses. 

In 1948, 18 holes would be carved out of the desert, and Rolling Hills Golf Club, the Kingdom’s first course, would be opened for play. In the middle of Dhahran, an oil town in eastern Saudi Arabia, golf would hold court, and players would carry a patch of artificial turf from which to hit shots.

However, not everyone on the PGA is sold. Tiger Woods, a member of golf’s old guard, was reportedly offered in the area of 10 figures to join the league.

“That number was out there before I became CEO. So that number has been out there, yes,” Norman responded when asked about the proposed figure. “And, look, Tiger is a needle-mover, right? So, of course, you are going to look at the best of the best. So they had originally approached Tiger before I became CEO. So, yes, that number is somewhere in that neighborhood.”

Saudi Arabia is looking to make its mark in the world of all things sports. Money was allotted for Formula One races, eSports and gaming, a partnership with WWE and other ventures. For the Kingdom, golf was the next frontier.

Greg Norman became the conduit that would establish LIV. Known equally for his prowess on the golf course as his acumen for business, it was a good fit. 

In the debate over vilifying or justifying LIV Golf, proponents of the “rebel tour” point directly to President Joe Biden sitting with MBS on the Saudi crown prince’s home turf recently. Is this about acceptance by the West, or something else entirely?

Sports can be the bridge to what’s next. In the Kingdom, that will be the LIV TOUR. For the players, vilified or not, the money isn’t so bad either.

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