Report: Greg Norman drops name from golf academy over $2M fraud scheme

Greg Norman speaks during an event at the 2019 PGA Show

The Greg Norman Champions Golf Academy is no more, at least in name. The World Golf Hall of Fame member pulled his name from the seven-year-old academy in the aftermath of an alleged embezzlement scheme involving the golf school’s managing partner.

The academy, which is located at Barefoot Resort in Myrtle Beach, S.C., is managed by Jose Manuel Fernandez Del Puerto.

On March 13, Fernandez was arrested by North Myrtle Beach Police and charged with stealing $2 million in construction funds from a nearby hotel project, according to a report by The Sun News.

Fernandez is accused of transferring the large sum of money from a business account into his own personal checking account. He spent one night in jail before posting $100,000 bond.

In a statement to The Sun News, Greg Norman company director of communications Jane MacNeille said the company was aware of Fernandez’s arrest and “have terminated his license to use the Greg Norman name or continue any further association between his businesses and Greg Norman.”

Fernandez professed his innocence to The Sun Times, saying, “I can tell you I didn’t [steal money]. I have proof of every single money that has been in that account, in and out, where it goes and where it went.”

While the new charges are related to a different project, the Champions Golf Academy Fernandez manages is under the cloud of its own financial and legal issues.

Those issues include $35,000 that’s owed to Callaway after a default judgment last October. On top of that, the academy has failed to pay as much as $17,000 in taxes from 2017-18.

The golf school, which opened in 2012 with Greg Norman’s name attached to it, currently has 11 international students enrolled this semester, according to Fernandez. Students don’t just play golf at the academy, they also live there and take classes.

Apparently none of that will change in the short term, as the school will stay open under the name Champions Golf Academy.

“So far nothing has changed. The academy has been the same, obviously with a bit more tension of what the [heck] happened, Fernandez told The Sun Times, “but that doesn’t change anything. We still have our summer camps, we still have class 2019-2020 open.” You can read the full report from The Sun Times here.

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