LIV Golf, the professional golf tour that has stirred controversy due to its ties with the Saudi Arabian government and efforts to lure talent away from the PGA Tour, lost out on the biggest fish in the sport.
In an appearance on "Tucker Carlson Tonight," LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman confirmed that 46-year-old Tiger Woods, a 15-time major champion, turned down an offer between $700 million and $800 million to join the LIV Golf Invitational Series.
"Look, Tiger is a needle mover, right? So, of course you're got to look at the best of the best,” Norman told Tucker Carlson. When Carlson asked Norman about the $700-$800 million figure that had been rumored, Norman responded, “They had originally approached Tiger before I became CEO. That number is somewhere in that neighborhood."
Norman called the PGA Tour a "monopoly" during his interview with Carlson and said the PGA created obstacles that caused LIV Golf to alter its plans for its launch.
Norman also said it "blows my mind" that corporate sponsors have dropped golfers for joining LIV because of its Saudi ties, despite having business ties themselves with Saudi Arabia. "The PGA Tour, I think, has about 27 sponsors who do 40-plus billion dollars’ worth of annual business on an annual basis in Saudi Arabia," he claimed.
LIV has been handing out enormous sums of money to attract top PGA stars to its events. According to the Associated Press, various reports have said Phil Mickelson received a $200 million signing bonus, while Dustin Johnson received $150 million.
As LIV’s rivalry with the PGA Tour rages on, Woods has remained an outspoken supporter of the latter. "I’ve been playing out here for a couple of decades, and I think there’s a legacy to it. I still think the PGA Tour has so much to offer, so much opportunity,” Woods said in May. He also stated that players who took money from LIV Golf had “turned their back” on the PGA Tour that made them famous.
Woods should be able to survive without the LIV deal. Forbes estimates that he has earned $1.7 billion on and off the course in his illustrious career.