In an exclusive interview with India’s WIO News, Norman chatted for 15 minutes with journalist Digvijay Singh Deo about anything and everything LIV. Norman hit all the normal talking points (growing the game, innovations in golf, etc.) during their sit down, but he also used the opportunity to yet again lobby for LIV to secure World Ranking points — and he wasn’t subtle about it.
“By degrading the strength of field by not allowing LIV players to get OWGR points, it’s not doing the game of golf any good,” Norman said. “Rise above it all. It’s good for the players, it’s good for the game of golf, it’s good for production, it’s good for corporations, it’s good for OEMs, it’s good for fans, it’s good for everybody. Just because you have a negative viewpoint and you’re one of the voting members of an independent organization, that you hate LIV and you vote against it. Grow up.”
LIV has yet to find any success thus far in its quest for legitimacy via World Ranking points. The upstart tour’s initial application has some glaring holes as it pertains to meeting typical criteria, and even with an airtight case, the process normally takes 12-18 months. This OWGR hurdle has been the biggest roadblock of the summer in an otherwise successful launch for the Saudi-backed league.
In an attempt to circumvent normal procedure, LIV attempted to form a strategic alliance with the little-known MENA Tour (which is recognized by the OWGR) to earn points in the interim. The stunt earned a swift rebuke from the OWGR in a written statement last week.
“It’s not a setback,” Norman said. “It’s a setback for [the OWGR] because quite honestly, my players should have [points]. There are 22 tours that have world ranking points and there’s only one that’s equal to, or superior to, what LIV is. Only one.”
Norman was presumably alluding to the PGA Tour, which has been a fierce rival of LIV in the fight for the top players in the world. But even after a pseudo-compliment to the establishment tour, it is obvious there is no love lost between the two.
“They’re not ready to embrace change because they didn’t recognize it themselves,” he said. “They’ve been stuck in their box for 53 years. They’ve been doing the same thing. It’s very boring.”
Norman might view the PGA Tour as “boring,” but it still has one thing he so desperately craves: legitimacy in the eyes of the governing bodies. LIV has yet to earn that sort of respect, but if Norman’s actions are any indication, the startup tour will do just about anything to get it.