Investment group

Greg Norman as head of Saudi-funded golf investment group, reveals plans


Greg Norman has been appointed CEO of LIV Golf Investments, which invests heavily in the Asian Tour.

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Press releases are the limited liability companies of releases. They imply more than they say. Consider the one issued by a new golf company called LIV Golf Investments, which aired widely Friday morning at 8 a.m. sharp. Here are three elements taken from its two pages:

(1) Greg Norman has been appointed CEO of this private company, which has offices in the United States (Norman lives in South Florida) and Great Britain (Norman has won two British Open). An Asian office is planned, the statement said. Near its bottom, you can read this mission statement from LIV Golf Investments: “Its mandate is to holistically improve the health of professional golf on a truly global scale and to support existing stakeholders to help unleash the untapped potential of sport. ”

Greg Norman speaks at a town hall at the PGA Show.

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(2) LIV Golf Investments announces that it will make a commitment of at least $ 200 million over 10 years to underwrite 10 new full Asian Tour events, which will be held in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

(3) The majority shareholder of LIV Golf Investments is the Public Investment Fund, the investment arm of the Saudi government.

And here are three things about those three things that you could easily glean from this vast repository of information and disinformation, the World Wide Web:

(1a) Greg Norman, by a Golf week report this week, is expected to be appointed commissioner of a new Saudi-backed, small-field, star-led golf league that plans to start playing next year. It was Norman who pioneered the idea of ​​a small course, star-ridden golf course almost 30 years ago.

(2a) Compared to the cash-rich PGA Tour with its never-ending season, where the combined purses for 50 events in 2021 were $ 392 million, the Asian Tour’s schedule and finances are modest. In 2019, the Asian Tour’s total purses were less than $ 20 million for its 24 events.

Greg Norman

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(3a) The Public Investment Fund (PIF) is the Saudi government’s secret and very wealthy investment company, a fund chaired by Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), Crown Prince and Minister of Defense of Saudi Arabia, according to The Wall Street Journal and other economic news media. A report released this year by the US director of national intelligence linked the murder of the Saudi critic to Washington post columnist Jamal Khashoggi to Mohammed bin Salman. PIF has also made substantial investments in a range of publicly traded US companies, including Boeing, Uber, Disney and Bank of America, reporting on PIF’s regulatory filings with the SEC.

The Friday LIV Golf press release refers to the hiring of several “top C-Suite executives”, although no names are listed. The press release bears a date from West Palm Beach but mainly uses British expressions such as “prize fund” (commonly referred to as “the wallet” in the United States) and makes the sum of $ 200 million as “200 million dollars ”, as the British newspapers do. And then there’s the use of the word among. (Very British.) There is something mysterious and veiled, really, about the whole release.

Norman alludes to this when quoted there saying, “This is just the beginning. LIV Golf Investments has secured a major capital commitment which will be used to create additional new opportunities in professional golf worldwide.

What does it mean? The phrase that the beginning? The phrase new additional opportunities?

This means that this Friday morning press release is likely little more than a warm-up act for the upcoming LIV Golf Investments announcement, which will likely offer some limited details about the star-ruled and supported golf league. ‘Saudi Arabia that Norman would oversee. . Norman has been associated with such a league for most of the pandemic.

And, really, long before. He has been brooding over such an idea since the early 1990s, when he began pitching his idea for a world golf tour to Deane Beman, then commissioner of the PGA Tour.

Greg Norman has been pondering an alternative round of golf since the early 1990s, when Deane Beman was PGA Tour commissioner.

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During this time, Norman was frustrated with the number of tournaments he had to play on the PGA Tour (15) to retain his playing privileges on the PGA Tour. He wanted to play fewer events in the United States and more in different parts of the world, where he could collect significant appearance fees.

Norman has never given up on what he believes is the basic common sense of such a circuit, for professional golfers who want to maximize their income and for fans who want to watch more star-studded golf.

And who will provide the major capital commitment he quotes ? If you think of the Saudi PIF fund, your logic is obvious.

Via email, a spokesperson for LIV Golf Investments sent a statement from Norman regarding PIF’s investment in LIV Golf to reporters: “I am delighted that the investor base is 100% commercially motivated by the opportunity to improve golf for everyone involved. I am pleased to join this group of investors in bringing the significant resources needed to make the fundamental changes required for the greater good of sport. “

As Greg Norman puts it, it’s not as memorable as what he said to Augusta on Sunday in 1996, the day he saw a six-stroke disappear before finishing in second place, five strokes behind Nick Faldo: ” I screwed up. It all depends on me. But losing this Master is not the end of the world. I still have a pretty good life.

Of course, a Friday morning press release is not a lively Sunday night press conference.

Either way, Beman was a professional golfer turned commissioner. Looks like Norman is trying to do the same. But Beman didn’t have to recruit any players. They came to him. Will Normand, checkbook in hand.

Michael Bamberger welcomes your comments at [email protected]

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Michel bamberger contributor

Michael Bamberger writes for GOLF Magazine and Before that he spent almost 23 years as senior editor for Illustrated sports. After college he worked as a journalist in a newspaper, first for the (that of Marthe) Vineyard Gazette, later for The Philadelphia Investigator. He wrote a variety of books on golf and other topics, the most recent of which is Tiger Woods’ second life. His magazine work has been featured in several editions of The best American sports writing. He holds a US patent on The club, a utility golf club. In 2016, he received the Donald Ross Award from the American Society of Golf Course Architects, the organization’s highest honor.


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