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Tiger Woods, whose net worth was placed at north of $1bn by Forbes in July, recently turned down a chance to nearly double his bank account.
LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that Woods declined an offer of between $700m and $800m to join the new Saudi-backed tour. The interview, conducted last weekend during the LIV Golf event in Bedminster, New Jersey, aired on Monday night on Tucker Carlson Tonight.
“That number was out there before I became CEO,” Norman said of the dollar figure presented to Woods. “Look, Tiger is a needle-mover, right? So, of course, you’re got to look at the best of the best. They had originally approached Tiger before I became CEO. That number is somewhere in that neighbourhood.”
Woods has maintained his allegiance to the PGA Tour over the new circuit. Speaking at the Open Championship in Scotland in July, Woods said, “The players who have chosen to go to LIV and to play there, I disagree with it. I think that what they’ve done is they’ve turned their back on what has allowed them to get to this position.
“You’re just getting paid a lot of money upfront and playing a few events and playing 54 holes. They’re playing blaring music and have all these atmospheres that are different ... I just don’t see how that move is positive in the long term for a lot of these players, especially if the LIV organisation doesn’t get world-ranking points and the Major championships change their criteria for entering the events.”
Woods also took a shot at Norman in July after the Australian was uninvited from festivities celebrating the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews.
“Greg has done some things that I don’t think is in the best interest of our game, and we’re coming back to probably the most historic and traditional place in our sport,” Woods said. “I believe it’s the right thing [to exclude him].”
Norman lashed out at the PGA Tour in his interview with Carlson. “It’s a monopoly,” he said of the older circuit.
“They just want to shut us down whatever way they can, so they’ll use whatever leverage point they can to shut us down, and they’re not. They’re not going to shut us down because the product speaks for itself.”
Norman also discussed the criticism that LIV players are receiving from the tour’s connection to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
“That blows my mind,” Norman said of players being disparaged for joining LIV. “Sponsors, by the way, who spend billions of dollars in Saudi Arabia. The PGA Tour has about 27 sponsors, I think, who do 40-plus billion dollars’ worth of business on an annual basis in Saudi Arabia.
“Why doesn’t the PGA Tour call the CEO of those organisations [and say], ‘I’m sorry we can’t do business with you because you’re doing business with Saudi Arabia.’ Why are they picking on the professional golfers?”
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.