THE MERGER between LIV Golf and the PGA tour was never going to be breezy. With lawsuits and ugly scandals creating a tenuous relationship between the established tour and the breakaway league, it now appears Australian golfing legend and CEO of LIV Golf Greg Norman has been caught in the crossfire. Documents obtained during a US senate hearing into the merger have revealed a proposed agreement between the two organisations that would see Norman dumped from his position.

According to the newly released documents, plans to oust Norman as CEO were discussed in a side agreement between Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and the PGA Tour. The proposal to replace Norman was floated during the negotiations leading up to the merger and was agreed upon before the merger was announced. But the senate committee couldn’t determine whether the side agreement – Norman’s termination – had been executed. Here’s what we know.

Has Greg Norman being outed as CEO of LIV Golf?

As it stands, Norman remains the CEO of LIV Golf. But since the merger was announced, he’s rarely appeared publicly, with rumours swirling that the 68-year-old knows something we don’t. Norman was invited to testify at this week’s senate hearing but declined. While he’s effectively been sidelined as the face of LIV Golf, and the latest court documents are particularly damning as to his future with the league, there haven’t been any official announcements of Norman’s termination. So for now, he’s still in the top job.

Why would he be on the firing line?

Norman is arguably the greatest Australian golfer of all time. In a pro career spanning more than 30 years, he spent 331 weeks as world number one, winning 20 PGA tournaments and The Open Championship twice along the way. Due to his exploits on the course and aggressive golfing style, Norman earned the nickname ‘The Great White Shark’, or simply ‘The Shark’. But it looks like even one of golf’s most decorated players isn’t immune to job insecurity. 

So why is a US senate committee looking into the merger agreement? After the deal between LIV and the PGA, news of the merger drew criticism from both major political parties in the US, with concerns surrounding how the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund’s interest in golf and a merger with an American association aligns with the nation’s geopolitical objectives.  

The senate committee is chaired by Senator Richard Blumenthal, who questioned the Saudi Arabian regime’s motivations for involvement with a beloved American sporting institution in his opening address. Blumenthal also criticised the PGA’s leaders for their hypocrisy in aligning with an organisation they had previously made moral arguments against. “We’re here about questions that go to the core of what the future of this sport and other sports will be in the United States, what happened that led the PGA Tour to change its position,” said Blumenthal.

What’s the public response been?

The merger has received backlash from players, fans and legislators alike, with Saudi Arabia’s poor human rights record criticised. Detractors of the merger have called the deal an attempt to shift attention away from human rights violations, in a process known as ‘sportswashing’.

Norman’s uncertain future isn’t the only revelation to emerge from the committee hearing. The hearing has revealed several other proposals that were discussed during merger negotiations, including plans to give golfing icons Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods their own LIV Golf teams, a mixed-gender team event, investments in two new PGA tour events and world ranking points for past and future LIV events.

Clearly the organisation has big plans; shame that the Shark might not be part of them.


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