Tiger Woods turned down an offer that Greg Norman says was in the region of $700m to $800m to take part in the Saudi-funded LIV Golf series.
During an appearance on Fox News with Tucker Carlson that aired Monday night, Norman confirmed what he told the Washington Post in a story two months ago. Norman told the Post in June the offer was “mind-blowingly enormous; we’re talking about high nine digits.”
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Woods has been opposed to LIV Golf since late last year, and he delivered his strongest comments at the British Open when he said players who took the money funded by the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund had “turned their back” on the PGA Tour that made them famous.
“That number was out there before I became CEO. So that number has been out there, yes,” Norman said in the Fox News interview, which took place Sunday at Trump National in Bedminster, New Jersey, where the third LIV Golf Invitational was held.
“And, look, Tiger is a needle-mover and of course you have to look at the best of the best,” Norman said. “So they had originally approached Tiger before I became CEO. So, yes, that number was somewhere in that neighborhood.”
Various reports out of the United Kingdom have said Phil Mickelson received a $200m signing bonus, while Dustin Johnson received $150m. The 48-man fields, which play 54 holes with no cut, offer $25m in prize money at each event. Norman announced a 14-tournament schedule for next year.
LIV Golf currently has only one player – Johnson at No 18 – from the top 20 in the world.
The source of the funding has led to sharp criticism of the series and the players who have enlisted because it is viewed as an attempt to distract attention from its human rights record and links to the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Asked why his rival tour has caused such an uproar among American golf fans, Norman responded plainly, “I don’t know.”
“I really don’t care,” Norman said. “I just love the game so much and I want to grow the game of golf and we at LIV see that opportunity not just for the men but for the women.”
The LIV Golf Invitational is off for a month during the FedEx Cup playoffs on the PGA Tour, returning over Labor Day weekend about an hour west of Boston, and then two weeks later plays in the Chicago suburbs.