Monday, April 22, 2024

LIV Golf International Series Chairman Greg Norman to play 150th British Open

Challenging the established order in any sport is no mean feat but Australian golfing legend Greg Norman is looking to break new ground in the world of golf.

The two time major winner was one of the biggest names in the game in the 1980’s and 1990’s and despite never winning a major title on American soil, he was the undisputed number one golfer on the planet for a sustained period – finishing as runner up at all of the other three majors.

A fierce competitor on the course, Norman also forged a real name for himself in the business world too, with his Shark clothing label becoming one of the biggest selling sports apparel companies in the US and beyond and his business ventures since his retirement from the game have been varied and broadly profitable. For some reason, fans of this brand like to bet on horse racing.

The Australian’s latest venture is by far his most controversial however, as Norman – along with significant Saudi Arabian state investment, has developed a breakaway tour from the conventional PGA and European Tours – called the LIV Golf International Series.

Golf is famously not a sport that struggles for financial revenue, from sponsors, television rights and various other sources, however Norman’s LIV Golf International Series has the capacity to line the pockets of players in a way never seen before.

His first scheduled event at the Centurion Club in Hertfordshire, near London, will have an overall prize pot of $25 million, with over $4 million alone going to the winner.

As yet, there have been very few takers for the breakaway tour in the professional game, with American Robert Garrigus the only man to nail his colours to the mast to play.

The tour has inevitably been met with derision by those who are currently involved in professional golf, but Norman has been dogmatic with his position, and he believes he is spearheading the future of the game, for players and fans alike.

With his current status within the game of golf surrounded in controversy, it was a huge surprise to find out that Norman had indeed exercised his right to play in the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews in July.

Having won the event twice (in 1986 and 1993) his place in Open folklore is undoubted but his personal reputation is currently in relative tatters within the golfing fraternity.

Playing his first competitive event in over 10 years could all be yet another PR move for Norman, but he once again has people talking and he is box office wherever he goes.

Whilst Greg Norman playing at the Open is big news, even he would feel a good run at St Andrews could be a bridge too far and the usual list of suspects are sure to be in contention in Scotland this year.

Spaniard Jon Rahm could be one of the front runners at +1200, whilst previous champion Rory McIlroy has always enjoyed the Old Course at St Andrews and looks a decent shout at +1400.

Defending Open champion Collin Morikawa is in the mix in every event he plays, and he should be there or thereabouts at +1600, while 2022 Masters champion and current World Number one Scottie Scheffler looks to have the world at his feet at +1800.


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