Greg Norman’s latest attempt to shake up golf

Greg Norman parachutes into LIV tournament in Boston - SHUTTERSTOCK

Greg Norman parachutes into LIV tournament in Boston – SHUTTERSTOCK

If there was any doubt that Greg Norman isn’t the cup of traditional Darjeeling, then the CEO of the Saudi-funded rebel ring put it to rest by parachuting into the first tee of the LIV event in Boston and then announcing that the its players will be allowed to wear shorts in the match.

In a quirky video posted on TikTok – the social media network apparently not on the vast majority of smartphones owned by golf fans – Norman inevitably played down the pros who can take their legs from Saturday’s second round very well. and after. “The first championship or tour ever to be official,” the Australian said.

Tiger Woods has long lobbied the PGA Tour to allow shorts, with his pleas to Sawgrass headquarters growing after the DP World Tour allowed its members to expose their knees in practice rounds in 2016 .

In 2020, after the PGA Tour reluctantly adopted the policy, the then-European Tour went a step further due to the intense heat at the Alfred Dunhill Championship on the edge of the Kruger National Park. The Tour claimed “history is being made” as the shorts were given the go-ahead for all four rounds, with Ernie Els stating, “I think this could be a game-changer for golf that could end up improving the product”.

Since then nothing. So far. And Phil Mickelson believes this seemingly trivial matter – one that will leave many outsiders laughing in confusion – matters in the bigger picture of his stated goal of attracting a younger audience. “There’s no doubt that LIV is a nuisance,” he said. “We’ve made some major disruptions in the sport of golf and created some truly unique opportunities for players and fans. And we’re just getting started.”

The LIV Rebels are sure to upset the BMW PGA Championship, the premier event on the DP World Tour which begins at Wentworth on Thursday. Not from trying to prevent the likes of Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia and Americans like Patrick Reed from crossing the Atlantic between its events – LIV Chicago immediately follows the PGA – Telegraph Sport has learned that Norman’s circuit has chartered a private jet to take players, punters and fans to and from London.

LIV golfers are banned from the PGA Tour, but until the court case is heard in February, they are free to compete on the European circuit. “It looks like LIV really encouraged their players to turn up and have an awkward week at Wentworth,” said a source. “Eighteen are doing this and there will certainly be flashpoints, if not with the Surrey galleries, then certainly between the LIV players and those who are loyal to the Tour.”

Norman never shies away from big entrances — here he's skydiving into LIV's latest tournament - USA TODAY

Norman never shies away from big entrances — here he’s skydiving into LIV’s latest tournament – USA TODAY

Telegraph Sport revealed on Thursday that LIV players plan to attend one of two key meetings at the Wentworth club – the Tour AGM on Monday and the players’ meeting on Tuesday – where they will challenge officials on “strategy alliance’ with the PGA Tour. They have been banned from Wednesday’s pro-am and asked not to wear LIV logos, but the Tour hierarchy is powerless to stop them from, as one player put it, “beating the proceedings”. It is understood there are plans in the locker room to ambush any attempt to take over LIV at the meetings with actions that include gesturing to show players they are not welcome on Tour.

“The matter is in the hands of the courts, so a vote or something like that wouldn’t make a big material difference, but some of the guys think it’s important to take a stand,” a Tour pro told Telegraph Sport. “They made their choice to take the millions and join LIV – fair enough. But what has disappointed many of us is that they want their cake and eat it and shut out the tour that helped make them. It’s a huge tournament and the players will be focused on their own games, but there will be a bad feeling.”

Martin Kaymer assumes the same. “Of course, there’s going to be friction there and that’s why I’m not going,” he told Golf Digest. “I love the European Tour and I love Wentworth. [But] I don’t know why I should fly to England, [and] to be on the golf course for four or five days where you’re not as welcome.”

Martin Kaymer misses DP World Tour PGA Championship because he doesn't feel welcome - GETTY IMAGES

Martin Kaymer misses DP World Tour PGA Championship because he doesn’t feel welcome – GETTY IMAGES

The two-time major winner was initially set to play, but his decision came after Rory McIlroy said he “can’t get enough” of the rebels on the West Course. “I love Rory but I wish he wouldn’t say things like that – he doesn’t need to,” another LIV player told Telegraph Sport.

“I just hope the tour doesn’t bring all the LIV guys together like they did in Scotland because that could just cause riots and bad scenes. That would be their fault and it wouldn’t be good for anyone.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *