LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman ‘inundated’ by players after Jon Rahm joined Saudi league
Greg Norman is feeling pretty good after Jon Rahm joined LIV Golf.
Not only does Norman, LIV Golf’s CEO, feel that Rahm’s addition validates the Saudi-backed circuit, but he also believes it will grow even more, according to Mark Schlabach of ESPN.
“I think word is getting out there amongst all the players around the world, even the top players, the best players in the world,” Norman said to ESPN on Wednesday.
“I’ll be honest with you. Since [Rahm] signed, I know he’s been inundated by players saying, ‘I want to play on your team, Jon. How do I get on that?’ I have been inundated, and my other team members, too, [and] my C-suite within the organization. I can tell you, hand on my heart, between eight and 12 guys for about two or three spots and maybe two spots, to be honest with you.”
Rahm, the third-ranked player in the world and the defending Masters champion, received north of $400 million to join the Saudi-backed circuit. He will also have control over his own LIV Golf team, which will likely include three other players.
Tony Finau and Tyrrell Hatton had been rumored to join Rahm on LIV, possibly on his team. But Finau decided to stay on the PGA Tour. Hatton, meanwhile, committed to the 2024 Dubai Desert Classic, thwarting LIV Golf rumors for now.
Yet, Norman insists that many players have expressed interest in LIV.
“They love our format, they love our platform, they love the team spirit, the team atmosphere,” Norman said of interested players.
“And to be honest with you, I’ve seen it resonate very, very loudly this year. And obviously, [Rahm] is an incredible addition to us.”
LIV Golf had a successful year, as Brooks Koepka won the PGA Championship at Oak Hill. The league also saw Bryson DeChambeau shoot an incredible 12-under 58 at the Greenbrier and had an overwhelmingly successful event in Adelaide, Australia—Norman’s native country and a place the PGA Tour has historically disregarded.
But acquiring Rahm is the most significant move LIV has made to date.
Yet, LIV Golf may not be finished. They could sign more players before the end of the year.
Of course, Dec. 31, 2023, is the self-imposed deadline created by the PGA Tour and the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF)—LIV Golf’s beneficiary.
On Jun. 6, 2023, when these two sides made their framework agreement public, they set a deadline to work towards a deal that would unite professional golf.
And that deadline is approaching fast.
“I’m not involved with that framework agreement at all,” Norman said of the negotiations.
“I’m over here looking after LIV and running LIV, but it’s great to see private equity coming into the game of golf and investing in the game of golf. I hope it does take place in some way, shape or form. It’s [for] the betterment of the players.”
LIV Golf has already unveiled its 2024 schedule, which begins at Mayakoba in Mexico during the first weekend of February. The league will then stage an event the following weekend in Las Vegas, where the NFL’s Super Bowl will also be held.
Whether the PGA Tour and the PIF’s self-imposed deadline is extended to then remains to be seen. Yet, Norman hopes a deal comes about.
“I do hope that some agreement in some way, shape, or form comes about about private equity investing into golf,” Norman added.
“As a former player, I’m all about independent players’ rights. I’m all about the players being able to earn more money and going where they need to go to earn more money or even staying somewhere to earn more money, and you’re seeing that now.”