LIV Golf International Series: ‘The sport’s bitter power struggle takes another twist’

Greg Norman
Greg Norman’s LIV Golf International Series is due to get started in June

As Lee Westwood and Richard Bland confirmed looking for waivers to contend in Greg Norman’s Saudi-backed rebel series, an different breakaway tour is urging PGA Tour associates to persuade the American circuit to facet with them.

It is another indication of a bitter power struggle at the best of men’s experienced golfing, with the founded excursions in the United States and Europe under increasing force.

Norman’s LIV Golfing International Sequence is because of to start at the Centurion Club in Hertfordshire with a 3-working day party next thirty day period worthy of $25m (£20m), the most profitable in the sport’s background.

Players need releases from the PGA and DP Globe Excursions to be authorized to compete. Waivers are anticipated to be granted for the opening occasion, but not for subsequent LIV situations in the United States.

Lee Westwood
Lee Westwood is 1 of the gamers hoping to compete at the Centurion Club future month

It raises the prospect of achievable participant bans and legal disputes. And set up tours are also preventing the danger of a different upstart circuit.

The British-primarily based Earth Golf Group is powering the Premier Golfing League (PGL) which at first came up with the thought of 54-hole tournaments, together with a group element, for the world’s elite to be performed in a Formulation 1-style series of world-wide occasions.

In a briefing observe, sent on Wednesday to all PGA Tour associates and observed by BBC Activity, the Earth Golf Group promises Norman’s Global Collection, operate by the Saudi Arabia-funded LIV Golf Investments, “represents an existential threat” to the PGA Tour.

PGL has been striving to persuade the founded American circuit to function with it, promising at the very least $2m up front for each individual of its members in return. The American-primarily based tour has refused to interact.

Now PGA Tour associates are becoming urged to simply call on their possess Coverage Board to instruct tour bosses to enter talks with PGL officials.

This letter, dated 4 Could 2022, has been despatched to player reps. It urges “a simply call to motion” and states: “Your occupation is approaching an historic crossroads.

“The ‘International Series’, funded and owned by LIV Golf Investments (LIV), represents an existential menace, not only to the PGA Tour’s dominance, but also its product.

“Change is not only inevitable, it is happening – and no volume of purse rejigging, head-burying, ban threatening, alliance earning or ‘moving on’ will derail it.”

The letter adds: “LIV’s fantastic structure (primarily based on our pretty possess, unique, PGL format) is capable of generating $10bn+ [£8bn+] of fairness worth. Consequently, LIV is ready to commit $400m+ [£320m+] to show the brilliance of the product, across 8 events.”

PGA Tour associates are instructed in the briefing observe that they could “individual 50% of PGL” and make $20m (£16m) every with $2m (£1.6m) up front with a further $1bn (£799.5m) of benefit to be shared amongst the feeder Korn Ferry Tour and the European-based mostly DP Environment Tour.

PGL also statements that to do absolutely nothing would direct to a merger involving the PGA and European Excursions “that would serve neither membership”.

But as opposed to Norman, whose undertaking is backed by Saudi Arabia’s extensive General public Investment Fund, the British-based mostly upstarts have to influence the world’s major golfers they have the financial clout to back their claims.

A former tactic to the PGA Tour’s Plan Board was referred to a non-public financial commitment lender that concluded PGL’s declare that it could make $10bn of price was not doable.

The PGL insists the lender under no circumstances spoke to it and is contacting for an unbiased valuation of its proposals.

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