‘Opinions are like a*****es’: Greg Norman opens up on golf’s civil war in wild interview

‘Opinions are like a*****es’: Greg Norman opens up on golf’s civil war in wild interview

Australian golf legend Greg Norman has opened up on his role as CEO of LIV Golf in an explosive new interview, revealing he has lost some of his closest friends as part of golf’s controversial split.

But he declared he has no regrets for causing a schism in the sport, stating, “It is the right thing to do. And you can’t run through a brick wall without getting bloody.”

Norman has never been shy of speaking his mind, and the former world number one and two-time major winner didn’t hold back in his criticism of the PGA Tour in a podcast appearance with the People I (Mostly) Admire podcast with Freakonomics‘ Steven Levitt.

He was bullish about the Saudi-backed breakaway tour’s role in changing the face of modern golf, saying: “It is the biggest thing to ever happen to the game of golf in over 53 years.

“And when you think back over time, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus and a few others broke away from the PGA of America that the PGA Tour. Why did they do that? They do it as players, right? All their independent rights – to compete. This is no different than what were doing today.”

“Yes, we’ve gone and ruffled a few feathers. But we ruffled the feathers of a monopolist,” Norman said.

“A monopolist who basically controlled the sport for 53 years. I tried to make a bit of a change back in ‘93, ‘94 with the world tour and again ran into the same headwinds back then as what we’re running into now. So they don’t like change.

“They don’t like competition. To see what’s happened today on the PGA Tour, since LIV came onto the scene, a massive amount of capital was injected back into the players on the PGA Tour.

“So, to be honest with you, the players on the PGA Tour should be giving a standing ovation to LIV, the league, and the players for stimulating this new injection of money.”

LIV has earned strident criticism from some of the most famous faces in modern golf, including Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. But ‘The Shark’ hit out at the two for failing to try and understand the business case behind the new competition.

“They have never sat down — I know with me they have not; I know with none of my executives or my team — have sat down to understand what the business platform is and what the business platform can deliver to them. They just haven’t seen it. So if you don’t see it, don’t comment on it, right?

“Because everybody’s got an opinion. And I’ve got a great saying: ‘Opinions are like a******s. Everybody’s got one.’ So excuse my French there, Steven. So, if you want to get in a debate with LIV, sit down across the table.”

It’s not just his relationships with PGA Tour stars that has suffered, with Norman revealing a number of his close friends no longer talk to him.

“Some of my dear friends don’t even speak to me because of this,” he said.

“That’s their choice. If you don’t want to talk to me again, happy days.”

Norman also revealed that LIV had been in negotiations to poach one of the winners of the four 2022 majors.

“I won’t mention this player’s name, but he is a top player. He’s won a major championship in the last year in 2022. I’ll just put it to you that way. And he asked me to come over, to sit down, and show him what the LIV product was all about. He was willing to sit down and listen.

“So myself and another one of my executives went over to his house, and we sat there, and we walked him through the presentation. And he just sat there and looked at me and goes, “Wow, this is nothing like we’ve been told in the locker room.” Now, he decided not to come. I respect him wholeheartedly because he understood both sides, and he had a decision to make. He could have done whatever he wanted, and he chose to do that.

“Those individuals, I applaud. Those individuals to me have tremendous amount of intelligence and street smart because they wanted to learn what the truth was. What are the facts? What are my opportunities? What are my preferences? Now I’ll make a decision over here.”

The four major winners in 2022 were Scottie Scheffler, Justin Thomas, Matt Fitzpatrick, and Aussie Cameron Smith – the latter of whom is already an LIV team captain.

Justin Thomas and Greg Norman have previously revealed they held talks.

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