‘We never offered that cash value to Tiger Woods’: Greg Norman clarifies LIV offer
Greg Norman says Tiger Woods would have earned the $700 million to $800 million sum that he himself earlier confirmed was on the table had Woods signed with the controversial, Saudi-backed LIV Golf series.
But in an interview this week with Fox Sports Australia, Norman denied that Woods was offered all of the money up front, saying that the 15-time major winner would have potentially made the figure through ownership of one of LIV Golf’s teams.
“To be honest, we don’t comment on any past or current offers to any players, but obviously the media picks up on information, tidbits, white noise, and they run with it,” Norman told Fox Sports Australia.
“I just want to make sure for clarification here, the numbers that were thrown out were inclusive of future franchise value. And so if you take a look at this number that’s being thrown out there … the generational wealth that this franchise opportunity has for the individual players is incredible.”
“That’s how it is, Norman added to Fox Sports Australia. “It’s not the cash value. We never offered that cash value to Tiger Woods. That’s the reality of it.”
The offer was confirmed following a Norman appearance on the Tucker Carlson Tonight show. During the interview, filmed during LIV’s event at Trump National Golf Bedminster, Carlson asked: “You keep reading that you offered Tiger Woods seven-, eight-hundred million dollars, some unknown number to join LIV. Is that true?”
“That number was out there before I became CEO,” Norman said on the show. “So that number’s been out there, yes. And look, Tiger’s a needle-mover, right? So, of course you got to look at the best of the best, you know. So they had originally approached Tiger before I became CEO, so yes, that number is somewhere in that neighborhood.”
Had the money been all up front, it would have dwarfed the reported bonuses offered to those who have signed with LIV. Woods, of course, has elected to stay with the PGA Tour. At last month’s Open Championship, he strongly voiced his support for the organization, and this week, he met with Tour players ahead of the BMW Championship in Wilmington, Delaware, to discuss LIV.
“As far as … the players who have chosen to go to LIV and to play there, I disagree with it,” Woods said at the Open Championship. “I think that what they’ve done is they’ve turned their back on what has allowed them to get to this position.
“I just don’t see how that move is positive in the long term for a lot of these players, especially if the LIV organization doesn’t get world-ranking points and the major championships change their criteria for entering the events,” he continued. “It would be sad to see some of these young kids never get a chance to experience it and experience what we’ve got a chance to experience and walk these hallowed grounds and play in these championships.”
Also in the interview with Fox Sports Australia, Norman noted LIV’s recent application to join the Official World Golf Ranking, saying “I think it’s important for the sustainability of the OWGR, to be honest with you.” LIV events currently do not receive world ranking points, and its players have discussed other avenues to gain them.
“LIV Golf is a proven platform with very significant players with very high ranking points with a very proven model that works,” Norman told Fox Sports Australia. “So I think, really, the onus is on the OWGR as an independent organization to see that LIV Golf is worthy of these ranking points because of what we’ve produced and what we’ve done.
“We’ve done all the right things. LIV is living up to it, LIV is proving it. So it’s up to the independent board, the independent chairman. I’m confident they’ll sit back and see that the LIV Golf League [that will begin next year] and the LIV Golf Invitational Series we’ve done today is worthy and warranted of OWGR points.”